Blandino doesn’t anticipate major changes to catch rule

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The NFL has convened a committee to explore possible changes to the catch rule. The NFL’s V.P. of officiating anticipates that no major changes will be made.

Appearing on NFL Network before the Pro Bowl, Dean Blandino expressed satisfaction with the catch rule in an interview with Steve Wyche.

“We think that the rule is in a good place right now,” Blandino said, via Will Brinson of “I really think it’s just communicating the rule and educating, There’s a subjective element to the rule so there are always going to be those plays where we debate [what happened].”

Last year, the NFL made mostly cosmetic adjustments to the rule that is at its most controversial when a player is going to the ground while making a catch, and then fails to maintain possession upon landing.

“Maybe there’s another tweak,” Blandino said. “But I don’t anticipate any major changes.”

The biggest tweak already has been made, in our estimation. And it debuted in the divisional round game between the Packers and Cardinals. By applying religiously the replay-review standard to the decisions made by the official on the field regarding whether the receiver had the ball long enough to become a runner (thereby completing the catch before hitting the ground and losing possession), the referee as guided remotely by Blandino in the replay booth will be more likely defer to the real-time, know-it-when-you-see-it assessment of a catch, without having a frame-by-frame, slow-motion substitution of someone else’s judgment overturn the decision.

That’s what happened with a second-half catch by Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald against Green Bay, and it’s what should have happened a year earlier when Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant made a catch that was deemed to be a catch by the official who was looking right at it.

If that’s the standard that will apply going forward, maybe the only thing needed is an apology to the Cowboys for not realizing sooner that this is the best way to handle the situation.

36 responses to “Blandino doesn’t anticipate major changes to catch rule

  1. Ugh. Current catch rule is terrible.
    But NFL stubbornly won’t change it and admit the Dez catch was really a catch. We’ve seen this play out with the Tuck Rule. Count on 10 more years of not knowing what a catch is.

  2. For the love of everything, go back to the rule pre 2007. And get rid of Bland-d-bag and Goodell. They can’t find their butt with two hands and a flashlight.

  3. It is so rooted in common sense the way it stands now, why change it? I mean, it is just like the man said, the rule is in a good place where it stands now, I mean everyone says so, right? The NFL brass is seriously out of touch. Like many big overgrown corporations, the NFL has no intention of looking in the mirror to see what everyone else does.

  4. Arrogant know-it-alls who were never good enough to actually play football, like Blandino are one of the biggest threats to the game. He derives great pleasure in overcomplicating the rules (like the catch rule) and the day will come where he will be deciding every questionable decision from his office in New York.
    Commissioner Goodell has his Dr Goebbels, who runs the NFL Officiating like the SS.

  5. That makes sense Dean. No one knows what a catch is anymore so why change the rule? Dummy. Will never get the image of Dean coming off the Stephen Jones/Dallas Cowboys party bus…no conflict of interest there…

    I despise Dez Bryant; that was a catch.

    I saw at least two, if not three catch/football move/fumble, which to me is a catch and s fumble, I saw 2 of those called incomplete.


  6. Had the refs got the interference call correct, the week before against Detroit, there would be no reason for an apology to the Cowboys

  7. Not only can they not decide a catch, they can’t decide when a catch-rule tweak becomes a change! My simple solutions to the whole debacle is this:

    The carrier (runner & catcher) NORMALLY has to maintain possession (including when going to the ground) – EXCEPT when making contact with any non-participants of the play on the sidelines, or equipments (eg benches, goalposts etc) UNTIL the ref deems the play over (eg forward progress, score etc). In other words, the ground can cause a fumble.

    FURTHERMORE in the process of catching a ball, the ball cannot touch the ground, even if already seemingly under control at that moment (because for all we know the ground may have helped the catcher to maintain that apparent control).

    These rules would deny some crazy catches, but would increase the excitement of a loose ball, and would be far simpler to determine.

  8. best solution watch replay in real time and make the call let the talk shows whine until they go hoarse if then call is wrong ,they whine not matter what anyway. They cried a river about the overtime rules until they get changed and they still whine about changing them some more. If they don’t whine they don’t have a job so ignore and enjoy.

  9. Just do possession with two feet down. Enough with the “football move” garbage. If a penalty (blindside hit/helmet to helmet, etc) causes it, then call the penalty and negate the fumble. Done.

  10. When Dez’s catch and reach for the end zone supposedly isn’t a catch, then no, the rule is not in a good place. It’s in a very bad place.

  11. Just asking, but why require possession through going to the ground? If the new rule was simply did the player catch it, irrespective if feet were down, or steps taken it might be easier to officiate. I, of course, am not talking about having feet inbounds, that wouldn’t change.

    The result of my proposal would be more fumbles, so what? Plays that in the past were incompletions would now be fumbles, i.e. a receiver catches the ball with feet in the air and the DB comes and jars it loose. Fumble.

    Much simpler to officiate although it might provide more incentive to have big hits since the reward could be a fumble instead of merely an incomplete pass.

    I like the ideas of simplifying the rulebook.

    I’d also change holding to only include grasping with hands/fingers. Perhaps make offensive linemen use closed fists. This would eliminate the “they can call holding on every play” since it would no longer be illegal to encircle opponents with arms just illegal to grasp and pull with hands. Fewer penalties and more true results of football plays.

  12. The empower still has no clothes. No one, including players, coaches, refs and fans have a clue what a catch is today in the NFL. Why tinker with what is working?

  13. It’s a dumbass rule. Let’s see, he caught it, he has two feet down, and there was a football move.

    Why not add on to the rule and make it so the receiver has to hand the ball to the referee?

  14. And the entire NFL Fan community expects a big change at the Head of Officiating position. This clown needs to go. He has been horrible. People sometimes refer to the rules committee for making the rules too complicated. I don’t buy it. This guy takes a very basic rule, and through his strange interpretive application, manages to muddy them up every time.

  15. They routinely misapply and misinterpret rules that are spelling out to the letter. Hoping that common sense will rule the day on the catch rules is asking for continued problems.

    Weirdest thing about the NFL is their resistance to fixing known issues before huge problems arise. Going back to the older, clearer rules would be very simple. Yet they’ll wait for a few more big controversies before getting that done.

  16. autumnwind999 says:
    Feb 1, 2016 12:35 AM
    Ugh. Current catch rule is terrible.
    But NFL stubbornly won’t change it and admit the Dez catch was really a catch. We’ve seen this play out with the Tuck Rule. Count on 10 more years of not knowing what a catch is
    If the NFL changed thte rule (thus meaning Dez actually did catch the ball) the NFL wouldn’t have to admit to anything.
    For the simple reason that a game is played and officiated according the the rules. Not the rules from 2 years ago. All the Cowboys fans go on about the Dez thing…..yet the week prior they benefited from a officiating mistake against the Lions. Didn’t hear Cowboys fans complain about that error.

  17. If the catch rule is not revamped this offseason, then Blandino and Goodell are complete failures. How this wasn’t addressed a year ago is bad enough but two years in a row? This cannot stand.

  18. Typical NFL propaganda. The NFL, zebras, coaches, and players don’t know, or agree about what a completed catch is. So the Zebras call it, so their favorite teams win. And as usual, NFL HQ has their heads up their collective butts. SNAFU. And ol’ carrot top is still making way too much money for his non- existant management skills.

  19. I hate the rule. But it’s been around long enough and called that way long enough so now when I see the ball roll out, I automatically say ‘no catch’. I realized this earlier this past year when I saw a receiver make a sideline catch against the Lions and when he hit the ground out of bounds, the ball rolled away. I immediately said ‘no catch’, and that’s the way it was called eventually. He got the two feet in, but when he hit the ground, he lost the ball. No Catch.

  20. Very true…… one would be talking about the Dez catch/no catch if the NFL had not decided it wanted a reprise of the the IceBowl in letting the biggest scam of a call I have ever seen take place the week prior on the blatant PI call against the Lions the week previous. Then this year in the no FaceMask/FaceMask call on A.Rodgers at the end of the Lions home game against the Packers as well as the ruled inadvertent slapping of the ball out of the Endzone in the Seattle home game against the Lions when Calvin fumbled ……..See the trend. The blatant & disgusting protection of the shield by the announcers is pure nonsense & when bad calls are made in game changing scenarios everything should be reviewable. If those calls were made/not made the Lions would have been in the playoffs seeding would have changed Seattle would be on the outside looking in and God only knows how it would have ended up. This entire postseason has a huge black flag on it. Refs deciding outcomes in the closing minutes of games can never happen again . Fix this first.

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