NFL V.P. of officiating Dean Blandino says there’s simply no way to avoid subjectivity on the “catch or no catch” question.
“There’s always going to be that subjectivity to it,” Blandino said in his weekly officiating video. “The rule, the way it’s written, is clear, but we are going to have subjective judgments and debates on how long is long enough, was he going to the ground, was he a runner, and that’s just part of the deal.”
Despite that subjectivity, Blandino says the rule itself is not too complicated: “A catch is control, plus two feet, plus time. And it’s that plus time that’s the subjective element that we’re all debating.”
Blandino added that he thinks people are overstating some of the confusion surrounding what constitutes a catch.
“Nobody knows what a catch is — I do feel that is somewhat hyperbole at this point,” Blandino said. “What we’re really dealing with is a small group of plays — some high-profile plays — but a small group of plays where we’re debating the subjective element of the rule. We’ve had thousands of pass attempts this year, thousands of completed passes, thousands of incomplete passes. We haven’t had an issue on the overwhelming majority of them.”
That may be true, but if even 1 percent of those thousands of passes result in game-changing calls that the average fan can’t comprehend, that’s a problem for the NFL.