Bill Polian, James Thrash among the league’s new catch committee

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Calvin Johnson and Dez Bryant can offer to help, but the NFL has picked the six guys they want to talk to about refining the catch rules.

According to Jarrett Bell of USA Today, the committee appointed by commissioner Roger Goodell includes Hall of Fame G.M. Bill Polian, former coaches Ken Whisenhunt, Jim Schwartz and Joe Philbin, former NFL receiver James Thrash and former side judge Tom Finken.

They’ll make recommendations to the Competition Committee about the possibility of streamlining or changing the rules about catches.

We don’t know what will come out of it,” NFL V.P. of officiating Dean Blandino said. “Maybe there’s something the [Competition] Committee hasn’t considered in the past.”

Polian was a long-time member of the Competition Committee, and has the kind of gravitas the league needs to help extricate itself from what has become a bit of a mess.

Thrash is already working for the league in player engagement, and his 290 receptions over 12 years in the league give him the hands-on experience.

Finken worked multiple Super Bowls, and now works training officials.

Blandino said the rate of confusion over what is and is not a catch isn’t greater than it has been in the past, though it sure seems like a weekly conversation now.

68 responses to “Bill Polian, James Thrash among the league’s new catch committee

  1. Leave it up to Goodell to hand pick a committee consisting of an egotistical former GM, failed head coaches and a side judge that nobody has ever heard of, to make recommendations. He’s probably already given them scripts on exactly what to say, if anything.

    Scream it from the hilltops. We need a new Commissioner.

  2. Who cares as long as its called consistently. Which I think it has been this year.

    I’m more interested in making everything reviewable so that officials don’t get to ruin the ending of games.

  3. .
    PR 101 : when faced with criticism over your own ineptitude, appoint a blue ribbon committee. Blame them for any failures going forward.

    Everyone whose

  4. I wonder if the officials are getting conflicting advice or if the rule book is simply too complex. The 2015 NFL Rulebook has 80 pages of single spaced text that an official needs to process in the fraction of a second and explain in less than a minute. The rule book is supplemented by instructions from the league though I suspect only the NFL knows how many instructions or points of emphasis have been sent to the officials. This is resulting in Paralysis by Analysis. Simplicity is prized in all other professions. I think that before changing the rules, the league needs to get all the “advisory” memos, points of emphasis and verbal instructions to determine what the officials are being told to do. Hopefully Finken can explain the incredibly complexity the NFL has injected into what should be a relatively simple process.

    I personally think the head of officiating should have experience on the field something Mr. Blandino’s lacks.

  5. With Polian involved, you know this will be screwed up. Get ready to hear how the NFL already does a great job…yada yada yada…

  6. Well, if it’s up to Bill Polian, they will simply rule out anything that seems like a catch, if the receiver has a Patriots uniform. Everything else is good.

  7. James Thrash, was he a receiver?

    How about Jerry Rice or someone who has plenty of experience knowing what a catch is?

  8. James Thrash??? Seriously??? Of all the receivers in the world James F. Thrash???

    This is from
    13) Donovan McNabb
    People seem to be divided as to where McNabb stands among the elite quarterbacks in NFL history. We shouldn’t forget, however, that McNabb took the Philadelphia Eagles to five NFC Championship Games — and he did so with receivers like James Thrash, Freddie Mitchell and Todd Pinkston. Love him or not, McNabb might have been more of a do-it-yourselfer than Bob Vila ever thought of being.

    Even the NFL itself trashed Thrash!!!

  9. Thrash is already working for the league in player engagement, and his 290 receptions over 12 years in the league give him the hands-on experience.
    290/12 = that’s a whopping 25 catches per season!

    559/12 = that’s a whopping 47 DROPS per season.

    He wouldn’t know a catch if he caught one. He was a horrible WR and started as a #2.

    Jim Schwartz? He’ll rewrite the defenseless receiver rule.

    Dan Blandino lives in a hole.

  10. Bill Polian? yeeesh, i can see it now – every receiver not on Patriots touches the ball even with even a finger tip, its a catch. And the Patriot receivers will have to catch the ball with both hands, stop mid-stride, hold the ball up with two hands and show the ref they have it & the ref will check the psi levels before any yac is gained …… good grief this will be a nightmare.

  11. Sure, put some WRs on the Committee. But since the job of DBs is to prevent catches, why not put some of them on the Committee?

  12. I guess Schwartz, Whisenhunt, and Philbin make perfect sense to include on the panel. You want to make sure that the rule is simplified enough that even the worst coaches in the league can explain it to their players.

  13. Catch committee?? They must think we’re idiots. “Oh we are trying to get this right!” Yeah cuz it could destroy interest in the game.

    There was a time not too long ago where nobody complained about what a catch was so just go back in the timeline to when that was, figure out what the rule was at that point and then change the rule back to that beginning next season. Done.

    Also I’m begging you to let us hear the conversations between the refs and the NFL office during replays. It’s not that hard to do from a technical aspect and there would likely be more trust that the outcomes of games aren’t affected by some biased cherry picking of confusing rules open to all sorts of interpretation in order to achieve a desired outcome.

    Boy, that got dramatic fast!

  14. Blandino is kinda like a newly minted MBA. Everything can be explained by numbers. But also like newly minted MBAs, if you don’t have the real world experience, you never know whether the appropriate variables have been included in your equation.
    Blandino’s statement that the rate of confusion isn’t different than in the past and therefore concludes that there isn’t a problem proves the poont. As such, they will never get it right.

    The problem is Goodell’s. Because he lives and dies on bogus press releases and poles conducted by his minions, he never really educates himself. So he picks people who won’t contradict him. Sure a few words will get thesaurused, a comma will be changed to a period and a few sentences will get flipped around. But otherwise no changes will be made.

    Why? Because that would mean that there was a flaw in the original committee. And there is only one flaw that Goodell will accept. And that is, the system just doesn’t allow him to be the chairman of every subcommittee. Because, from his perspective, had he been chairman, this issue would never have occurred.

    Watch and see. Nothing significant will come out of this. Fire Goodell and then watch the integrity of the league start to be reinvigorated.

  15. If Polian is involved a receiver that even touches a ball will be credited a catch and any DB that even breathes or looks in the general direction of a receiver will be flagged.

    Couldn’t be a worse person to have involved in this.

  16. Polian is responsible for many of the pro-QB rules currently in place (like the enormous restrictions on what DBs can and can’t do), so my gut says he’ll err on the side of loosening the definition to include things that wouldn’t currently be considered a catch.

    Even with Peyton just a memory, he’ll still help out his buddy in any way he can.

  17. The committees first recommendation should be to fire Dean Blandino. He has done absolutely nothing but muddy the waters on everything regarding officiating a game. The second thing should be to make officiating a full time job. The current batch of officials are not able to keep up with the pace of the game, and everyone is tired of reading how “they are just humans”. Wrong, they are old humans with degraded reflexes. I truly believe that they go into games already knowing what penalties they will be focusing on, and go overboard on penalizing teams based on their “Hot Button” issue. Finally, simplify the definition. Possess the ball by receiving the pass, get 2 feet down without dropping the ball. If the ball comes out before 2 feet are in contact with the ground, then it is incomplete. If the ball comes out after 2 feet are in contact with the ground, it is a catch and fumble. Easy enough.

  18. What a joke. All the multi-million dollar clowns in the NFL office and they need a committee to define what a catch is?? NFL football sure is going downhill quickly. Sad. I don’t even watch that much any longer.

  19. what a waste of time!

    they should rescind all the sliced & diced rules that have been implemented in the last few years.

    At this rate, Goodell will want to use the amount of hand-on-ball pressure to decide “control”

  20. rhamrhoddy says:
    Dec 11, 2015 9:06 AM
    Catch committee?? They must think we’re idiots. “Oh we are trying to get this right!” Yeah cuz it could destroy interest in the game.

    There was a time not too long ago where nobody complained about what a catch was so just go back in the timeline to when that was, figure out what the rule was at that point and then change the rule back to that beginning next season. Done.

    It was whenever the NFL changed the rule to allow the ball to hit the ground during a catch and have it still be ruled a catch. Prior to that, if the ball hit the ground at all (even when in full control) the pass was incomplete.

  21. zigthepatsfan says:
    Dec 11, 2015 9:05 AM

    James Thrash? Was Freddie Mitchell unavailable?


    I think he’s in jail. So he does have a lot of time on his hands.

  22. Akula says:
    Dec 11, 2015 7:13 AM

    Bill Polian…….the reason you see all these tickey tack pass interference calls.
    AMEN. Great comment! Pollian is the guy that started to take contact out of a contact sport when he (ab)used his power on the rules committe.

  23. James Thrash Catch Guidlines: gain control of ball with two feet inbounds, if falling to the ground must maintain control of ball all the way to the ground, must point to the sky.

  24. Bill Polian…yeah that will fix things. I can see it now, if the receiver looks at the ball it’s a catch and if the DB is in the same zip code potentially blocking his view it’s PI.

    How many months will it take Whisenhunt, Thrash and Finken to explain the current rules to Schwartz and Philbin? Any potential improvement will suffer death by committee, in fact it seems like the desired and preordained outcome.

  25. getyourownname says:
    Dec 11, 2015 9:03 AM

    Sure, put some WRs on the Committee. But since the job of DBs is to prevent catches, why not put some of them on the Committee?
    Because to a DB, there is no such thing as a catch! 😉

  26. Polian just may have done more than any one person to ruin a once glorious game played between grown men who knew and accepted the inherent dangers of participation. Jeff Fisher is guilty by association too. Hey, here’s a concept, if it looks like a catch or non catch to the individual charged with making judgment calls from merely feet away from the play then so be it. Instant replay has proved to be the bane of professional football. My god judgments are made in a cushy office now by guys who never officiated a game in their life. Yeah, I’m looking right at you Blandinko.

  27. Polian sucks. I want that self-righteous scumbag nowhere near the NFL product. He’s helped ruin it enough with the emphasis on the 1978 ChuckRule being way over the top.

    That’s just for starters. He’s a disgusting human being.

  28. This is easy money for James Thrash:

    ‘What’s a catch, James?’

    ‘Whatever Todd Pinkston didn’t do.’

  29. Polian is a horrible human being. Talk to anybody who has met him. He’s a vile guy who is cruel to anybody who doesn’t kiss his butt. Just a bad guy all around.

  30. Are we 100% absolutely sure that the gubment is not part of the NFL? It sure seems like it with the way they muck things up and make them more complicated than they need to be.

  31. Bill Polian– Great GM…..but i wonder what his thoughts are on a catch???

    former coach Ken Whisenhunt– i like(d) him as a head coach. i’m a bit surprised he’s on this committee…..he could help with it.

    former coach Jim Schwartz– really surprised he’s here. i think he’ll find a job somewhere (likely as defensive coordinator), hopefully he won’t complicate the catch rule.

    former coach Joe Philbin– hope he doesnt hire Incognito to help him….all bad jokes aside about his lousy coaching, hopefully he helps make the catch rule simple.

    former NFL receiver James Thrash– WHAT!!!?? the guy who i nicknamed James TRASH is helping with this?? he’ll say if the ball hits the ground and you pick it up, it’s a catch because he’s famous for that.

    former side judge Tom Finken– help the current refs understand what a catch is Tom.

  32. Thousands of retired players and they go with James trash?I guess ol’ 4th and 26 freddie Mitchell was too busy being incarcerated.always hated McNabb and the Eagles in general,but when you think of the garbage teams he had its pretty impressive what he did.of course they only got to the big game when they had the great T.O. but McNabb had to vomit during crunch time.literally

  33. so the current competition is too inept to decide what a catch is?
    how about putting a few HOF WRs on the committee instead of some has-been, or some GM who should never have been in the HOF because he sux for luck. no integrity there.

  34. Polian is the reason for all the PI calls. The soft Colts offense couldn’t handle tough defenses, so year after year, he lobbied for rule changes to help Manning. Wayne, and Harrison. Now defensive backs can’t even look sideways at a receiver without an interference call. His criterion for a catch will be to simply LOOK in a receiver’s direction.

    Unless it’s Gronk, then 5 guys can take out his knees, pin his arms, put him in a headlock, grab his face mask, and pull his jersey over his head NHL style without a penalty. Hey, it’s in the rule book.

  35. The guy spends 9 years as a Redskins and only 3 as an Eagle, but you show the picture of him as an Eagle?

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