NFL trying to explain that catch rules aren’t confusing at all

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The NFL has tried fixing the confusion over what is and is not a catch by legislating new rules.

Now, it seems their goal is to simply explain things better and hope for the best.

League vice president of officiating Dean Blandino spent much of his time during his press conference at the owners meetings talking about the process of determining whether a thrown thing has been caught.

He reiterated the rulebook definition of “control, two feet, plus time,” and that if a receiver has yet to become a runner, he must control the ball through contact with the ground (i.e. those who are diving or reaching for the goal line).

Blandino mentioned that the idea of “control, two feet, plus time” was put in the rulebook in 1938 and modified in 1942, so it’s not a new concept.

While he repeated the formula enough to make the assembled media shudder at the thought there would be math (we were told there would be no math), his message was consistent that he thought the current rule worked. If he had a problem, it’s that improvements in technology have made it easier to see minor imperfections, and microscopically analyze plays until confusion was created rather than eliminated.

That’s also why competition committee chairman Rich McKay said they’ve resisted the Bill Belichick “challenge everything” notion.

“You can begin to re-write the rulebook, substituting one person’s judgement for another’s,” McKay said.

So after convening committees of former players and coaches and executives, the league seems to have come to peace with the idea that as long as plays are replayed, they will be debated.

But instead of trying to fix things with new rules or different wording, explaining the existing standard simply and focusing on educating the officials (and the media and the public) might help them most.

34 responses to “NFL trying to explain that catch rules aren’t confusing at all

  1. I don’t think the problem is the wording of the rule or the rule itself. The problem is that the referee’s interpretation of the rule varies from Sunday to Sunday, and Blandino justifies every variation the following Monday.

  2. So as long as we have HD slow motion replay that gives you a pretty much exact look at how the catch was or wasn’t done…. they’ll choose to ignore that in order to not let coaches challenge everything because that could “re-write the rulebook”.

    I’m sorry, but what the ….?

  3. Pick any two refs and put them in seperate rooms show them a video. If they come to the same conclusion catch vs no-catch, then I’ll agree.

    Heck put Blandin0 in a phone booth and show him the same vid twice. If he agrees with himself, I’ll agree.

  4. This perfectly sums up Roger Goodell’s NFL: More time gets spent trying to explain and spin the confusing current catch rules than it would take to fix them.

  5. NFL using Jedi Mind tricks. “If we repeat the same stupid statements enough times everyone will just go along with it.”

  6. Coincidentally the phrase “I was told there would be no math” is precisely what Roger Goodell said about his role as Commissioner when it was scientifically proven that footballs, unlike his ego, naturally deflate in the cold

  7. Everyone bashes the catch rule yet nobody tries to write a new one. There will ALWAYS be disagreement as to whether some are catches. Every survey done on this site regarding catches shows it to be true.

  8. He’s right. The rule is not that confusing and the alternatives are worse. There are many articles out there that going into this in more detail.

  9. Does the NFL realize that the biggest threat to the NFL is itself? All is good while the money is rolling in, but that does not mean it will always be that way.

    The catch rule is a mess because the NFL makes it a mess. It works better for them to have it a mess so they can shape games to fit whatever NFL story-line is hot and making them the most $$$. I hate saying it like that, but I truly believe that they do try to impact games, even though the net result isnt a definitive win or loss. It feels like point shaving . . . something just isnt right.

  10. How much time?

    If a guy catches a ball on the sideline and drags the second foot at the last second, how much time was that?

    They also need to take juggling, or movement of the football out of the equation, as long as the ball never touches the ground.

  11. I know everyone hates the catch rules, but let’s be honest with ourselves: do you think the current group of NFL referees would do a better job even with a “perfect” catch rule? And asking the question answers it. The problem isn’t the rule, it’s Mr. Blandino’s employees. We need better – full time – referees.

  12. Blandino and Goodell.
    Two chimps and a dart board should replace these two.
    Terrible example of sports “executives.”
    More like sports schmucks.

  13. This catch thing is a sideshow. I’m more interested in the replay system. They can use it for a lot more things than they are doing now without intruding on the officials “judgement”.

  14. If the rule is so clear, why do so many coaches, players and refs have a hard time understanding it?

    All this silliness began in 2006 when they started with the “football move” language.

    My previous understanding of the rule was control and two feet. Time was never a factor until the “football move” language was added. I would like to see Dean Blandino’s collection of NFL rulebooks to check what he is saying about the history of the rule.

  15. The catch rule is so simple. It’s so black and white/easy to identify what is a catch and what isn’t. The amount of confusion regarding this topic is astonishing…

    If you can understand the catch rule, please vote.

    If you are uncertain in any capacity in regards to what is and is not a catch, please don’t vote.

  16. It really isn’t confusing. Those that are confused by it are just easily confused. It’s two pronged (or 3).

    First, two feet on the ground is always required.

    Next, Was the receiver going to the ground while making the catch? If yes ,Then he must maintain possession through the the fall.

    If no, then he’s a runner. Two feet, plus time.

  17. As a fan, I’m alright with the rules being more complicated than need be if the application of those rules is consistent. When you have one crew applying the rule one way and another crew applying it differently it generates confusion. When you have to listen to someone lawyer the calls afterwards to justify not slamming their officials in public, you feel in your gut that something isn’t fair.

  18. Really? Seems like everything else that people love about the game (hits, celebrating, etc) can be resolved with rules, but clarity on one of the most important parts of the game can’t?

    Can you imagine if basketball had this type of absurd confusion about what is and what is not a travel?

  19. No Dean, it was control and two feet. That was it. Now it is a football move and a second act and an element of time.

    Oh, and however the refs feel today.

    Just go back to control and two feet and leave it at that. OK, so there are a handful of extra fumbles.

  20. A runner dives, breaks the goal line plane and hits the ground- ball is loose-TD

    A receiver dives, catches the ball, breaks the goal line plane and hits the ground-ball is loose-incomplete.

    WTF

  21. To put it simply; they’re total morons! It’s not that difficult to come up with a simple solution–the trouble is, it’s Goodell and his NFL minions like Blandino who are deciding what a catch and what it isn’t.

  22. Can we move on from this topic. The more they talk about it the worse it gets. Just hand the ball to the red. End of story. Must be running out of things to discuss in the league office since roger doesn’t get to discipline players now. Maybe he can Learn how to mess something else up for next year. Go coach poo Warner. That’s what the game is turning into.

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