Bigger and brighter minds than mine (it’s a low bar) may indeed solve, once and for all, the catch rule after the current season. But allow me to suggest a hiding-in-plain-sight solution that would solve both the catch-rule problem and the related (at least as it relates to the catch rule) replay-standard problem.
As previously explained, the league office isn’t properly applying the replay standard to the question of whether a catch occurred. Part of the problem, as former NFL senior V.P. of officiating Dean Blandino explained when he had the job, is that the third part of the three-part formulation of what is and isn’t a catch has a subjective element. In other words, it’s partially a judgment call.
So why not make the third part of the formula not subject to replay review? The first two aspects — (1) securing control of the ball in the player’s hands or arms prior to the ball touching the ground and (2) touching the ground inbounds with both feet or with any part of his body other than his hands — are inherently objective. So those aspects can be reviewed. The last aspect, similar to other judgment calls (e.g., pass interference), should simply not be reviewable.
It’s a thought that occurred to me while thinking out loud during Friday’s PFT PM podcast. The full discussion, along with other topics of the day, a full Week 16 preview, and answers to a crapload of questions, can be heard by clicking the appropriate button below.
If you like the idea, let me know below. If you don’t, well, who asked ya?