Roger Goodell: Catch rules not what “people really want”

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During a recent appearance on PFT Live, NFL Competition Committee chairman Rich McKay said that aspects of the league’s rules governing what constitutes a catch will be discussed by the group again this offseason and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell offered some thoughts on the topic Monday.

Goodell was a guest on Colin Cowherd’s FOX Sports Radio show and was asked if he’s somewhat concerned that fans watching games are confused about whether they see a catch or not.

“I’m not just somewhat concerned, I am concerned,” Goodell said. “We just had five Hall of Fame receivers and several coaches come in just two weeks ago to focus on the catch/no-catch rule. You want there to be clarity from an officiating standpoint and a coaching and player standpoint. . . . I think here you might have clarity in a large element of it, but what happens is that it’s not the rule that people really want.”

Goodell said one of those Hall of Fame receivers once said to him that “fans want catches” while Goodell said he is looking for “more clarity and frankly more excitement” rather than lengthy reviews breaking down each play to see if it passes muster. Goodell said that he sees particular confusion when it comes to players going to the ground, so that may be where the league looks to tweak a rule that has long been problematic.

54 responses to “Roger Goodell: Catch rules not what “people really want”

  1. IF it hits the ground it is not a catch. Just keep the ball of the ground. It has worked in backyards for the past 5,000 years. Even cavemen did it like that. Don’t try to fix what isn’t broken. The ground is lava, and the ball can’t touch it.

  2. The NFL had to give Rodge his new 200 MILLION $ Ninny to Suck on to keep his Mouth Shut on the CTE Brain Trauma Files.

  3. Dear Roger: I am about to retire from football fandom because of the rules-not just the catch but all the rules you added to the sport. Almost every kick-off and punt return has a flag thrown. Is that coaching, self discipline or refereeing? The game has become quite boring.

  4. Define a Catch as it was pre-Calvin Johnson rule… BOOM, more catches.

    Offset the increase in offensive productivity with a return to pre-2015 Defensive Holding penalties where Hand Checking no longer constitutes Defensive Holding, grant a 5 yard penalty and replay of down – no auto first down garbage.

  5. By the time they’re done, it’s going to be virtually impossible to throw an incompletion to a jumping receiver.

    They should just go back to the rule the way it was before: the ball can’t touch the ground, no exceptions, no special judgment calls to make, etc.

  6. With the rules and the NFL management today, I am down to watching one game a week….the Patriot game because I love excellence. After Brady and Belichick retire then I will no longer watch the NFL at all.

  7. Just let the divas say if they caught it or not. The NFL is terrible. Just get rid of the refs and let the people via computers etc determine everything.

  8. And some poeple wonder why interest in the NFL is diminishing.

    Just spot the Pats 8-points during the anthem each week and let’s be done with it. What’s a “catch” for them CLEARLY isn’t for the Steelers and Bills when they played them.

    As you were!

  9. It’s easy. Two feet down (or a part of the body down that makes a play dead on contact) and clear possession of the ball. That means tucking it in, or stretching it out, or just turning and lowering your shoulder into a tackle.
    The ground can cause a fumble if the player had possession and was not down by contact.

    No need to over-complicate it. If a player has clear control of the ball. he caught it. What happens beyond that isn’t necessary to determine a catch. If it comes loose, it’s a fumble. If he doesn’t get 2 feet down in bounds, it’s out of bounds, if he stretches it across the goal line, it’s a TD.

  10. The rule we have now is fine just be consistent in enforcement….meaning keep Riveron out of the process and the Pats must be penalized other teams that hold and interfere

  11. Maybe you could require the athletes to stand for the National Anthem as well. I am pretty confident that for 90 percent of them there is not another job that would pay them the annual salary they receive for playing a game. Just a little thing.

  12. Do the fans want more fumbles? Cause that’s the big side effect here.
    Ball came out when you hit the ground? Fumble.
    2 feet down and you get hit? Fumble.

  13. For the first 90 years of NFL football everyone knew a catch when they saw one.
    Then came Roger and his gang that can’t shoot straight and in short order not only does no one seem to know what a catch is anymore but what we are watching bears little resemblance to what we once knew as NFL football

  14. Might as well change the rules to say that if the NFL has to apologize for a call after the fact then the beneficiary of the call has to forfeit the win.Then KC ,last year,would have played in the AFC championship instead of the steelers.Dallas vs detroit game to,then dez wouldn’t have been on the field against GB.Funny how you whiners complain but when it benefits your team you gladly accept it.

  15. Ya think ? It took you 3 years to realize that ? Goodell isn’t exactly Johnny on the spot when it comes to realizing a rule needs changing.

  16. With RG, there’s no reason to not be 100% critical of everything he says…We know what a catch is, we’re not sure Roger does…

  17. January 29, 2018 at 5:56 pm
    Do the fans want more fumbles? Cause that’s the big side effect here.
    Ball came out when you hit the ground? Fumble.
    2 feet down and you get hit? Fumble.
    ——-
    I have no issue with that. At all
    I want an explanation on how in the world a player can have the ball, in their possession with one or two hands in control of it but it not be a catch because they didn’t get all the checkboxes marked. If that means more fumbles because we now give players a catch when they have possession, fine. Guys will learn to improve hand strength and protect the ball.

  18. They could solve about 75% of the problem if they just got rid of that ridiculous New York replay official nonsense. It wasn’t a good idea when Blindino came up with it, and it is not a good idea now.

    If they insist on keeping it, let a few stand once in a while. There’s simply no excitement when a great catch is made, and they rule it incomplete because the ball moved a little.

  19. If he didn’t know that footballs naturally deflate in cold weather, why would he know what a catch is? If you ever want a good laugh, remember that the Commissioner of the NFL never played, coached, or worked as a scout in the NFL. There are animal mascots with better resumes.

  20. Hire SMART ex WR’s to work as replay officials out of New York. They should be able to factor in the speed of the game and intent and other factors that officials are over looking.

  21. There should be a 4 part rule, as follows:

    1) The pass should be an incomplete if caught but possession isn’t maintained through both feet down or the receiver completing two steps.
    2) The pass should be a completion if the ball is caught in the field of play with possession through two steps or both feet down, IF the ground cannot cause a fumble.
    3) The pass should be a fumble if caught and maintained through two steps or both feet down, and possession is lost by something other than the ground.
    4) if it is a sideline or EZ pass with the player maintaining possession before his body goes out of bounds (and the player took two steps or had both feet in bounds before going out of bounds), THEN, AND ONLY THEN, should the player have to maintain possession throughout the entire catch.

    Dez against GB where took two steps (it was a catch) before the ball “moved” when hitting the ground, but it was AFTER a football move where he became a runner. It was a BS call then, and still is today.

    Megatron in week one of 2010 where one foot came down, and then the other foot came down in the EZ before the ball touched the ground (it was a catch also). That was a BS call as well, and was the beginning of all of this nonsense.

    The rule, much like the commissioner, needs to be changed badly.

  22. Goodell knows he is a stooge for the owners just like the refs. That’s why the rules are subject to such “interesting” interpretations, whichever one suits who the NFL and their Vegas bookies desires.
    Like when the Steelers scored to beat New England so the refs reversed it because that’s not the outcome they were told to produce, when Myles Jack was running into the end zone so the refs immediately blew the play dead etc…
    Football games have already gotten soft, boring and drawn out enough without the league manufacturing outcomes and spreads WWE style right in front of your face like the owners believe all the fans have CTE and are too lobotomized to notice

  23. Dez did NOT catch the ball. He never had possession of it (aka he juggled it) long enough to make a football move before it hit the ground.

  24. The problem is they’re overlegislating to try and wipe out grey areas. The reality is there will ALWAYS be an element of human grey area of “did he establish full control ‘long enough’”

  25. Yes, let’s re-debate the Dez catch since of course the Cowboys only got to that game based on the BS pass interference flag pick-up vs Detroit.

  26. floridaslonechargersfan says:
    January 29, 2018 at 6:08 pm
    Seems like if they took the Calvin Johnson rule out everything would be fine.
    —————————————————————————-
    Absolutely. Watched that video again and still can’t believe why it wasn’t a TD and why that ridiculous call resulted in rules that torture all NFL fans this many years later. Idiocy…

  27. >IF it hits the ground it is not a catch. Just keep the ball of the ground. It has worked in backyards for the past 5,000 years. Even cavemen did it like that. Don’t try to fix what isn’t broken. The ground is lava, and the ball can’t touch it.<

    Here's the PROBLEM with THAT…

    Ever since INSTANT REPLAY, everything can now be seen from a half dozen points of view or more. Before instant replay those plays looked like catches and as such were ruled as catches.

    The fans and media are a BIG part of this problem… on the one hand, they want Instant Reply but on the other, they get upset when Instant Reply shows something they don't agree with based on real time speed and one camera's perspective.

    The fans and media CAN'T have it both ways. If they want the game Officials to rule it a catch then do away with Instant Reply. The Officials will call it like they see it, like they've always called it. From their angles they can't see the point of the ball touch the ground but Instant Replay in Super Slow motion from 12 different angles can.

    Pick a poison and live with it. Either you want Instant Replay or you don't. Everything else will fall into place.

  28. Hate to say it but Roger might have a point there. My own observation is that the way the average fan wants the rule called tends to vary depending on which team its getting called on. And unless its going their way the rule will get bashed no matter what it says.

  29. Treat it like a running back. If the ground can’t cause a fumble, then it shouldn’t disallow a catch if the receiver has control of the ball while going to the ground. Furthermore, if a receiver catches a ball, has control of it while crossing or in the endzone, then it’s a catch and a touchdown whether the ball moves or not while hitting the ground.
    Having to wait 20min for the officials to determine if a ball moved a millimeter when the receiver hits the ground is ruining this great game!

  30. Really Rog? What a genius. If the wind even blows the ball or the player juggles it but keeps it it is a catch. How complicated we made a game that got along just fine before you showed up. And so now we get 2 minutes of review for every catch?

  31. “Ball doesn’t touch the ground and you have to show it when you get up. Just like when we were kids.

    Works in baseball.”

    I’ve made this argument, too, including the point about baseball–you have to show the ball and we all agree with that. I think it’s a good approach. But there are a couple of problems. Baseball isn’t actually an exact comparison–in baseball, all you’re doing is making a catch, while in football you’re making a catch and then trying to lunge for yards, maybe breaking the plane of the goal line. There really is a question of when the catch is finished and the lunging begins. Also, although I agree it matches playground rules and it also makes replay more obvious, it makes the rule tighter than it is now, so you’re going against their stated goal–they want more catches, not fewer. There’s just no way they’re going to make a “can’t touch the ground” provision.

    But I don’t think it’s easy, there are flaws in all the suggestions I’ve heard. I don’t think the people working on this are stupid, as everyone else seems to think. It’s really difficult to write this rule so it stands up to frame-by-frame replay scrutiny and still matches common sense. I’ll be intrigued to see if they can do it without everybody ending up screaming over catches again.

  32. The current rule is not confusing. Maintain control while going to the ground. I think it’s a fine rule. I’m befuddled at the people who are like “well I don’t know what a catch is anymore!” It’s really not that difficult of a rule to get. I know I’m in the minority but I have zero problem with the catch rule as is. Guys like DeAndre Hopkins are amazing at maintaining control throughout the process of the catch. It’s an athletic marvel and something that should not be lost from the game through a weakening of the rule.

  33. mikespillane337 says:
    January 29, 2018 at 6:00 pm

    Might as well change the rules to say that if the NFL has to apologize for a call after the fact then the beneficiary of the call has to forfeit the win.Then KC ,last year,would have played in the AFC championship instead of the steelers.Dallas vs detroit game to,then dez wouldn’t have been on the field against GB.Funny how you whiners complain but when it benefits your team you gladly accept it.
    —————————————————————————————————————
    Good idea. Then the Seahawks would get that SB win vs the Steelers the refs screwed them out of.

  34. Its absolutely painful to watch these replays and everyone trying to determine if its a catch or not….this is what you call over-engineering……which ultimately ends badly

  35. Revisiting this post Super Bowl. The week before the game NFL commissioner says he’s concerned about the catch rule, that the fans want catches and he’s looking for more excitement.

    The Super Bowl featured the most yards in a game in league history, no holding penalties on the O-line and no pass interference penalties. The two TD passes that were reviewed were both upheld. If the Clements TD catch happens in a game in September or October, there’s an excellent chance it gets overturned on review.

    The question is, how much did the commissioner’s comments influence the game? You never hear the NBA commissioner say “People want to see dunks, not travel calls” right before the Finals and have the series feature blow away prior scoring records. The Super Bowl was an exciting game, but you have to wonder how much influence the league had on it playing out that way.

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