Every year, several plays stand out as controversial applications of the catch rule. One of them came out on Sunday in Houston.
Chiefs tight end Demetrius Harris caught the ball, took multiple steps, but then had the ball knocked out of his hands as he was going to the ground. The ruling on the field was a fumble. After further review, the decision was overturned.
The outcome turned on the decision that Harris was going to the ground as he was making the catch. And while the replay evidence suggested that, indeed, Harris was going to the ground, the play will prompt many reasonable people to think, “That’s a catch and a fumble.”
The NFL insists on adhering to the twist that applies when a player is going to the ground in order to avoid an uptick in fumbles. Still, the rule as written and applied continues to create a gap between what fans believe they see and what the league tells them they see.