- Calvin Watkins, ESPN Staff Writer
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He was on the field screaming at the officials about the pass interference call against linebacker Anthony Hitchens, who was defending Detroit Lions tight end Brandon Pettigrew in the fourth quarter of Sunday's NFC wild-card game.
"The ref really wasn't listening to what I was saying," Bryant said after the Cowboys' dramatic 24-20 victory. "I gave him my opinion. I thought it was a bad call. He was blocking me out and telling me to get back [to the sidelines] and the coaches, they were grabbing me. Since the play was dead, I thought it was OK."
After the flag was thrown and the penalty marked off, the referees changed the call and waved off the penalty. Bryant was on the field without a helmet pleading with the referees to change the call; he could have been flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Dean Blandino, the NFL's head of officials, said Monday on NBC Sports Radio, Bryant being flagged for his presence on the field was up to the official and the official on Sunday had "discretion" to decide whether Bryant's actions warranted a penalty. The rule of being penalized for standing on the field of play without a helmet applies to the players participating in the game at that time.
Blandino, however, also said he would support a penalty being called on Bryant for being on the field at that time.
Bryant said fans from opposing teams mentioned on Twitter he helped get the penalty changed.
"Truthfully, I just want everybody to know, I had nothing to do with that," Bryant said smiling of the penalty change. "There's a lot of hate but I understand we're the Dallas Cowboys, so we're going to get that. It thought it was a bad call. Everybody thought it was a bad call."
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett on Monday said Bryant or any other player standing on the field arguing with an official whether playing or not, is something that shouldn't happen.
"Really, you talk to everybody about that, and you try to make that and other situations a teaching moment for your football team -- and that happens all the time," Garrett said. "Obviously, you see that -- there's kind of bench-clearing-type situations that happen every week in the NFL, players come off the sidelines. So the biggest thing we try to do is, again: we play, we coach. That's what our jobs are. Let them officiate. Let's get focused on the next play."