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Polian thinks player safety will keep catch rule from changing

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Why can’t the NFL simplify the always-confusing catch rule with something as straightforward as saying any time a player has control of the ball and two feet down it’s a catch? According to Hall of Fame G.M. Bill Polian, it’s because of player safety concerns.

Polian is a member of the league’s catch committee, which is reviewing the catch rules for possible changes. Polian thinks the current rules give protection to defenseless receivers who are still in the process of making a catch, but if the rules changed to make the catch final as soon as the receiver has the ball and both feet down, that would expose receivers to more hits to the head.

“Any change you would make to catch-no catch would have a deleterious effect on defenseless player [rules],” Polian told the Washington Post. “That’s off the table. For five or 10 controversial plays a year, you’re not going to put players’ safety at risk.”

Polian said any rule change that would open up defenseless receivers to more hits is a non-starter.

“The competition committee can help the officials,” Polian said. “But to change it doesn’t work and you’re not going to change aspects of player safety for five plays a year that are controversial. . . . Do I know what the committee is going to do? No. But it’s clear to me, and I think to everyone else, that defenseless player is a Siamese twin of catch-no catch. You cannot separate the two. And you cannot make changes to player safety.”

But why couldn’t a new catch rule be written in conjunction with the player safety rules, to give a receiver a catch as soon as he has the ball and two feet down, but still give him the same defenseless player protection that he has under the current catch rules? There’s no reason the NFL’s catch rule can’t be improved while also improving player safety rules.

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44 Responses to “Polian thinks player safety will keep catch rule from changing”
  1. patsrthegreatest says: Feb 23, 2016 11:48 AM

    Here’s a guy who belongs on a catch committee as much as a porcupine belongs in a nudist colony

  2. halfie6 says: Feb 23, 2016 11:50 AM

    The real player safety issue, if you wanted to make a case for safety, is that a two foot down catch rule would result in more fumbles and players would get hurt in ensuing scramble for loose balls.

  3. nisbo says: Feb 23, 2016 11:52 AM

    With respect, did this man just watch the same season I did? 5 Controversial calls?? Is her serious?? Almost 5 a week!

  4. citizenstrange says: Feb 23, 2016 11:52 AM

    That is complete nonsense.

  5. ibelievebrady says: Feb 23, 2016 11:52 AM

    The fact this, jealous, senile, crybaby fraud is in any way involved with the decision making for rules, tells you everything you need to know about the NFL.

  6. jag1959 says: Feb 23, 2016 11:55 AM

    In keeping with his previous leading of The Great Wussification Polian further proposed that any defender breathing near a receiver or QB should be promptly ejected from the game.

  7. fanofpft says: Feb 23, 2016 11:56 AM

    Shenanigans, hits to the head were not a problem when it was 2 feet down with control.

  8. cajunaise says: Feb 23, 2016 11:58 AM

    Receivers aren’t safe if they’re having aneurysms because of bad calls by the refs.

  9. RavenzGunnerz says: Feb 23, 2016 11:59 AM

    If you are going to the ground, keep the ball from touching the ground, and moving. it’s a catch.

    There is no confusion to the current rule. Only morons think there is.

  10. oiler1980 says: Feb 23, 2016 12:01 PM

    This guy is a putz.

    I don’t recall a steady stream of catch controversies before Goodell and Blandino came into the picture.

  11. tylawspick6 says: Feb 23, 2016 12:04 PM

    This guy is such a politically correct moron.

  12. kcchefs58 says: Feb 23, 2016 12:06 PM

    People make this harder than it is. It’s not hard to comprehend the current rule.

  13. thestrategyexpert says: Feb 23, 2016 12:08 PM

    The NFL should hold a contest for fans to contribute their ideas to solve or improve any issues of any kind. Any ideas that are adopted from any categorical issue pay out a prize to the fan that contributed the specific idea or came closest.

    This would open up access to many more new ideas that could create change for the better, while at the same time increasing fan interaction and participation; a way for the fans to be more included as a part of the game.

    For example:

    Category of ideas for increasing fan participation and interest in conjunction with having input on the rules…

    Entry for that category – see above post

    Others are now free to submit their own ideas for this particular category to compete for the win. If nobody else submits an entry, then I suppose I win the $100k prize, or perhaps a free hat, or shirt + hat if the league can afford that.

  14. dohczeppelin says: Feb 23, 2016 12:10 PM

    “But why couldn’t a new catch rule be written… to give a receiver a catch as soon as he has the ball and two feet down, but still give him the same defenseless player protection that he has under the current catch rules?”

    Because without hitting the receiver while he’s in the process of catching the ball, the DB would have no way of defending a pass outside of intercepting or batting it down. With the current rule, he has a chance to make a hit AFTER the receiver gets the ball in theirs hands, but BEFORE it’s counted as a catch. That tiny little window gives DBs a chance to do their job without having to try and crush a defenseless receiver. That’s the whole point of the current rule. Been trying to explain this to people for a while.

    I agree with Polian, the current rule isn’t NEARLY as bad as everyone thinks, and the suggested alternatives will either decrease player safety, or make it even more difficult to stop a passing attack. The game is already too dependent on having a tier-1 QB in my opinion, we don’t need to make it even harder on DBs. A controversial play here and there is an acceptable consequence when you consider the alternatives.

    I STRONGLY recommend you look up the sbnation.com article called something like “The NFL catch rule isn’t nearly as bad as you think.” It addresses all of this in great detail.

  15. macdaddyspeed says: Feb 23, 2016 12:16 PM

    I was all for changing the catch/no catch rule until he went all Todd Christiansen on us with his use of “deleterious”.

  16. cinzano08 says: Feb 23, 2016 12:19 PM

    Bill “change the rules to help my team” Polian has spoken, it must be true.

  17. chuckshontaspads says: Feb 23, 2016 12:21 PM

    Why would anyone listen to Polian…he thinks Brady is Al Capone and Manning Mother Teresa…please someone shut this guy up.

  18. cinzano08 says: Feb 23, 2016 12:22 PM

    I trust Mexican tap water before I believe anything pollying says.

  19. therealraider says: Feb 23, 2016 12:28 PM

    Many times a player will make a great catch along the sideline and after he two taps his feet in bounds and falls to the ground , the ground may cause the ball to wiggle, not touch the ground, just wiggle loosly in his possession..currently thats ruled a no-catch.. Situations like that can be addressed that have no impact on player safety.

  20. thefirstsmilergrogan says: Feb 23, 2016 12:37 PM

    the kind of stodgy greedy thinking that has the nfl using eyesight for judging close field goals while nascar can display real-time telemetry on cars moving at nearly 200 mph.

  21. glac1 says: Feb 23, 2016 12:41 PM

    If it’s broke… FIX IT!

  22. JSpicoli says: Feb 23, 2016 12:42 PM

    WR’s all need to carry a mitt and if it comes out it is not a catch.

  23. digitalsasquatch says: Feb 23, 2016 12:43 PM

    oiler1980 says:
    Feb 23, 2016 12:01 PM

    This guy is a putz.

    I don’t recall a steady stream of catch controversies before Goodell and Blandino came into the picture.
    ————————————-
    Riiiiight…I don’t remember a stream of controversies before we had multiple high-frame-rate, slow-motion replayed on our 70-inch HDTVs, either.

  24. clelek05 says: Feb 23, 2016 12:51 PM

    Bill Polian is the worst human to walk the face of the earth. Ahead of Goddell.

  25. It Takes 3 Mannings To Equal One Brady says: Feb 23, 2016 12:53 PM

    If Marvin Harrison made the play Dez Bryant made, in a playoff game in Foxboro and the play was ruled incomplete, Bill “change the rule sin favor of my offense” Polian would have a different opinion, bank on it

  26. robadat says: Feb 23, 2016 12:59 PM

    “But why couldn’t a new catch rule be written in conjunction with the player safety rules, to give a receiver a catch as soon as he has the ball and two feet down, but still give him the same defenseless player protection that he has under the current catch rules?”

    Actually, the current rule does. The current definition of a defenseless receiver continues even after a catch is completed.

    “A receiver attempting to catch a pass; or who has completed a catch and has not had time to
    protect himself or has not clearly become a runner. If the receiver/runner is capable of avoiding or warding off the impending contact of an opponent, he is no longer a defenseless player;”

    So when a catch is or is not legally completed should have no bearing on the defenseless receiver rule.

  27. surfinbird1 says: Feb 23, 2016 1:27 PM

    Crawl back under your rock, meatball.

  28. silvernblacksabbath says: Feb 23, 2016 1:35 PM

    This whole CATCH RULE stuff is confusing on PURPOSE.. This way, officials can give the call to whatever team they want to win…. FIX IS IN!

  29. scutz1972 says: Feb 23, 2016 1:47 PM

    Why do people keep asking this stooge for his opinion!

  30. fanofpft says: Feb 23, 2016 2:11 PM

    therealraider says:
    Feb 23, 2016 12:28 PM

    Many times a player will make a great catch along the sideline and after he two taps his feet in bounds and falls to the ground , the ground may cause the ball to wiggle, not touch the ground, just wiggle loosly in his possession..currently thats ruled a no-catch.. Situations like that can be addressed that have no impact on player safety.

    The old rule made sideline catches so much better and easier to rule on. If it is open field well then the control part comes more into play. However the later is to convoluted with the extra stuff they tack on. Change it back.

  31. sammievee says: Feb 23, 2016 2:16 PM

    Safety? This is absurd. As the rule is written and interpreted it is advantageous for a d safety to knock the head off a receiver in the endzone before the receiver has “finished his football move”.

    Catch…two fee down…destroy the “defensive receiver”…fifteen yards or half the distance, but no TD!!

  32. blkandgld4eva says: Feb 23, 2016 2:17 PM

    chuckshontaspads says:
    Feb 23, 2016 12:21 PM

    Why would anyone listen to Polian…
    ———————————————-
    You ain’t kidding. I went to the HOF induction to see Bettis, and there were also great speeches by Tim Brown, Charles Haley, and Seau’s daughter. But man was Polian’s speech a total snooze fest, about as interesting as my philosophy 101 college professor.

  33. sammievee says: Feb 23, 2016 2:19 PM

    last post should have read “defenseless receiver.”

  34. fanofpft says: Feb 23, 2016 2:34 PM

    You can see pat fans pile on here and any other post were someone allegedly (Polian) holds a stance not favorable to their team. Yet when it is the other way around there are very few posts allowed likewise. This is very biased not independent as advertised.

  35. williamxl22 says: Feb 23, 2016 2:55 PM

    This “so-called” or “alleged” member of the catch committee is trying to smear what it means to complete a catch.

    See what I did there? Polian is a dirt bag.

  36. horses721 says: Feb 23, 2016 3:33 PM

    When the NFL discusses player safety, the hypocrisy is hilarious. Thursday night football games and plans to go to 18 games are all examples of the concerns Goodell and his buddies show for player safety! I am sure they would solve the problem with this rule if there was a way for Goodell and the billionaires boys club to make money off of it.

  37. ebdug says: Feb 23, 2016 3:33 PM

    I don’t know if there are fewer hits because of the Defenseless Receiver rule, but I know there are more flags.

  38. concretejimmy52 says: Feb 23, 2016 3:59 PM

    Bill Polian HOF? No way. Is this the same guy that whined about the Ravens should have a shorter week before the playoffs when his team had a month off. Ravens already had to play a team after their bye week for half the season and play five straight road games to make it to the SB. That was the week before Tammy Brady stood there and cried when he couldn’t score, even with help from the refs. But Modell isn’t in the HOF. What a bunch of wackos.

  39. tjacks7 says: Feb 23, 2016 4:17 PM

    You can’t solve problems by using the same logic that created them. The NFL needs to blood and new ideas, too many card carrying good ole boys club members creating problems and not solving them.

  40. Rolo Tomassi says: Feb 23, 2016 4:20 PM

    We’re all idiots

  41. tonebones says: Feb 23, 2016 4:31 PM

    I totally disagree. Making a receiver hold onto the ball for way longer than they used to have to, causes defenders to try anything they can to jar the ball loose, including diving head first into a pile. If you want to lower injuries, change the rule so that the receivers only needs to get one foot in bounds. That would cause way more throws to the sidelines eliminating a lot of those big hits across the middle. It would also lead to quicker, lighter lineman, and more rollouts by the QB, eliminating a lot of the blind side sacks. They need creative thinkers on these committees if they want to lower injuries, and make changes for the better.

  42. YouCryin?PatsMustBeDoingTheirJob says: Feb 23, 2016 5:16 PM

    His opinion is worth less than Archie’s. Just as manipulative, though.

  43. TheBrownsareClowns says: Feb 23, 2016 6:14 PM

    One has nothing to do with the other

  44. binarymath says: Feb 23, 2016 7:50 PM

    Think I’ll take next season off from watching football, and become a roadie for that band called The Deleterious Effects.

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