Here’s a simple fix to the catch rule problem

Getty Images

Bigger and brighter minds than mine (it’s a low bar) may indeed solve, once and for all, the catch rule after the current season. But allow me to suggest a hiding-in-plain-sight solution that would solve both the catch-rule problem and the related (at least as it relates to the catch rule) replay-standard problem.

As previously explained, the league office isn’t properly applying the replay standard to the question of whether a catch occurred. Part of the problem, as former NFL senior V.P. of officiating Dean Blandino explained when he had the job, is that the third part of the three-part formulation of what is and isn’t a catch has a subjective element. In other words, it’s partially a judgment call.

So why not make the third part of the formula not subject to replay review? The first two aspects —  (1) securing control of the ball in the player’s hands or arms prior to the ball touching the ground and (2) touching the ground inbounds with both feet or with any part of his body other than his hands — are inherently objective. So those aspects can be reviewed. The last aspect, similar to other judgment calls (e.g., pass interference), should simply not be reviewable.

It’s a thought that occurred to me while thinking out loud during Friday’s PFT PM podcast. The full discussion, along with other topics of the day, a full Week 16 preview, and answers to a crapload of questions, can be heard by clicking the appropriate button below.

If you like the idea, let me know below. If you don’t, well, who asked ya?

106 responses to “Here’s a simple fix to the catch rule problem”

1. Refs should not be allowed to see the replays in super slow motion. Maybe slowed by 50%, or maybe only in real time. Allowing the refs to see plays at a thousand frames per second or slower makes the review process “super human” in it’s application. Anything slower than half speed should not be allowed.

2. eezyxyz says:

The simple fix is hands on the ball plus both feet on the ground equals catch. The league resists this because they don’t want a lot of ‘cheap and easy’ fumbles, but I honestly don’t see enough of these plays to fear that there’s suddenly going to be a dozen fumbles per game if we simply eliminated the ‘football move’ component of the rule.

3. walker1191 says:

I’d love to see this change implemented, so that next year when the Patriots score a TD in Pittsburgh on a play that would have been over-turned this year the Steelers can complain again and insist the rule be changed back.

4. Who cares if the ball moves? I hate what they’re doing with this. We all know what a catch is, if it moves a little so what. If you come down with the ball and it doesn’t clearly leave your hands then it’s a catch.

5. Bruce Payne says:

Here’s a simple solution: use common sense. James had a TD. So did Zach Miller. So did Calvin Johnson. And Dez Bryant. And Bert Emmanuel. Why is it any other player on the field crosses the plain of the end zone the play is over and points on the board? Except receivers. I love the NFL but they are ruining the game with their bad calls and bad rules.

6. the current rule is not subjective at all

if you do not possess all the way through the ground, without even trying to take steps, it is incomplete.

7. It will never fly with Goodell because it makes too much sense.

8. I don’t think making something non reviewable will solve any problems. You’ll just have more people upset, like with the non reviewable pass interference you mentioned. Also I don’t think you explained what this 3rd “subjective” part the the catch equation. Are you referring to the antiquated “has the player made a football move” part of the formula? Maybe I’m missing something

9. So you’re good with obvious incompletions being called complete because 2 outta 3 ain’t bad?

Yeah, that should cure everything.

10. floriosbaldspot says:

How about if it’s too close to tell just call it a catch and move on.

11. Jesse James dropped it. Move on

12. “So why not make the third part of the formula not subject to replay review? ”

Because that opens the door for too much influence in the hands of the refs (they already have enough) and the potential for game rigging or the ability for the NFL to control game flow to keep games close in an otherwise blow out (they already do, see vikes vs lions on thanksgiving)

No part of the catch rule should be “subjective” or “interpreted”. It needs to be a catch in both game action and slow motion.

13. jaggedmark says:

Everyone, following the Steelers catch/no catch issue knew it would be overruled as a “no catch.” Now you want to make it more subjective? Good luck.

14. Further, pass interference calls don’t punt points on the board.

Touchdown catches can. Bad analogy. Even for a lawyer.

15. I like the idea of simplifying the rule, but if it is indeed a catch by securing the catch and landing inbounds, does that mean the ground can indeed cause a fumble if the ball pops out after?

16. Mike, I normally disagree with your take on things, but I think you nailed it on this one. That’s honestly the best fix that I’ve heard so far.

17. I’m a phins fan but one thing Belichick has right is that every play should be reviewable.

18. Not a bad idea. But here’s an even simpler fix: instead of watching their respective teams compete, let’s just watch the owners play Madden.

19. I like it.

Meanwhile the NFL is hard at work thinking up new and more arcane details and definitions.

20. chargerdillon says:

This whole topic of conversation exists because everybody watched the 2 best teams in the AFC play to the wire with one team making a great comeback touchdown only to be completely reversed by a referee.

I’m no Steelers fan, as but a football fan, the reversal of that call is a complete embarrassment for the NFL. If even the casual fan cannot make a correct visual judgement call on a play as simple as that, something has become corrupt with the rules.

21. The Supreme Court has a way of dealing w hate speech – you know it when you see it.

99% of football fans see a catch and generally know it’s a catch when they see it. Slowing down a replay to 1/100th of a second to see if the ball wiggles is insanity.

Make the refs watch the replay at full speed and if it seems like a catch, it’s a catch. We know it when we see it.

22. neilpountney says:

Two feet down… Complete

Ball touches the ground at any time… Incomplete

Ball comes loose after two feet down… fumble

It was pretty simple why did we ever change?

23. It never should have been changed from the 60s, 70s and 80s……2 feet down….ball crosses the goal line plain,running or catching….THATS IT! ….the ground has nothing to do with it! btw…this ALL started about 13 years ago when Calvin Johnson made a Great catch in the back of the end zone to win the game vs the Bears. It WAS A CATCH but the stupid refs got it wrong and a ridiculous rule was BORN.

24. Just like the tuck rule. Work it for the Patriots and then get rid of it once the smoke clears.

25. It’s not hard, don’t lose control of the ball when you hit the ground….see how simple that is.

26. shlort says:

Only problem with that is if it is clearly dropped after parts one and two. Then What?

27. If an untouched receiver dives vertically to snare a pass just a foot off the ground, and then loses control when he hits the turf – is it an incompletion, a fumble, or is it that the ground can’t cause a fumble under your proposal?

28. somethinsbruin says:

Instead of of making it subjective with all kinds of replay available you want to make it subjective in real time with only one quick glance. What could go wrong…

29. learysdisciples says:

It’s a great idea. Now buy the Panthers and propose the rule.

30. This is just IMHO but it seems to me that it’s a simple enough rule. When attempting to make a catch, if you are making said catch while going to the ground, then you must secure the catch all the way through. It shouldn’t matter how many times you make a football move with your hands. It shouldn’t even matter if it looks to the whole word that you are controlling the ball. If you are going to the ground in the commission of a catch, YOU NEED TO SECURE THE CATCH ALL THE WAY THROUGH the act of going to the ground and if the ball comes out then it is not a catch.
If you are on your knees with the ball and reach over the goal line, touchdown, but if you are still in the commission of going to the ground then you need to control the ball all the way through the ground. Simple, if you made the catch and do not need to go to the ground then don’t, but if you do go to the ground then you need to control the ball all the way through.
Where you are on the field should not matter because if the rule changes just because of the end zone then you will open another can of worms because then how to you rule when a receiver is diving over the goal line in an attempt to catch the ball he grabs the ball mid-air while going over the goal line and is in control of the ball. TOUCHDOWN! but when he finally comes down, the ball hits the ground and bounces away from the receiver. Anyplace else on the field and it’s incomplete and that is why the goal line does not affect the rule.
Now, if after making the catch you are lying on the ground completely stopped an in control of the ball, or if you controlled the ball through the ground and are getting up when the ball comes loose, then that should be a catch because you did make it through the ground with control.

31. Easy fix would be to just catch the ball and dont fall to the ground. If you do fall to the maintain possesion all the way through and get up with both feet and then throw the ball to ref without spinning it/gently letting it drop after each play.

32. reaganyears says:

Or fire riveron asap and hire someone who woll apply the rule correctly.

33. You have to secure the catch. You have to come down inbounds. You can’t lose control while completing the catch. Why is this so hard for everyone???

34. It’s pretty simple if your going to the ground you have to maintain possession throughout and in the case of the Pittsburgh game the player didn’t do that. The rule has been this way for a while so stop crying and move on.

35. Ill say what I said in the other thread.

Love the rule or hate it, is the only rule I have seen consistently applied by the officials. What is illegal contact, pass interference (both offensive and defensive), what is holding changes from game to game, play to play.

The reality is, while it is cliche to say “nobody knows what a catch is”, in fact it is the opposite that is true. It is in fact not hard at ll to understand. It’s just people dont like it. Anyone who has been watching the NFL the last few years knew the play at Pitt would be overturned. It was text book.

Like it or hate it, the rule is actually the only thing I see the officials rule with any consistency. The moment you take away the 3rd part of the process (or make it non-reviewable) that consistency goes out the window. And then what is a catch on some plays will be considered not a catch on others. Atleast as it stands now, what is a catch, is a catch, for all teams.

36. Just get rid of the subjective element.

In regard to pass interference, add review as it is too easy to influence the outcome of a game by refs through such subjective calls.

37. The subjective is surviving the ground, or in other words ball under control with body/ground contact according to rules. What is “under control” I can tell you what it’s not. It’s a ball that has one end touching the ground while spinning while touching one hand of a receiver.

That’s not subjective, that’s a pretty easy one unless you are a fan or have money on the game. If the ball had not bee so obviously moving, a full 90 degrees of rotation while the other end is touching the ground.

So please. let’s stop trying to fix what ain’t broken. If you don’t, you’ll certainly live to regret it when it costs you a game.

38. Doesn’t happen often but I agree with Florio. That would solve it for me. The problem is you have that subjective piece twice almost. On the field and in the replay booth. And no two people see things the same way so refs and replay are deciding too many critical games.

In this case you don’t need to get more complicated that this solution to eliminate a problem that is tainting the game.

39. wttoolman says:

The catch rules cannot be changed until they have cost every team a play-off game.

40. You wanted all scoring plays reviewed, you got that. He didn’t catch the ball. Now you only want part of the play reviewed. Listen to yourself really.

41. Seems like some folks want “almost caught it” to count as a catch

42. Florio..A good idea. I could live with it. Here’s mine. Why not make both running and receiving plays to require completion. A player reaching for the pylon must retain possession until the end of the play. A player jumping over the pile at the goal line…reaching the ball over….must retain possession until the end of the play.

However, I do like the rule that awards the ball to the defense if the offense fumbles out of the endzone out of bounds. Has to be a rule out there for the defense.

43. Seems logical so therefor the NFL and it’s team of lawyers won’t do it. Just remove instant replay entirely. Before it was used there were a handful of games each year with bad calls. Since it was implemented there a handful of mistakes in each game. Make replay go away period. Put the officials back in charge calling the games in real time.

44. John Bugay says:

The solution is to not let replay officials use slow motion when they review a play. The game is played at full speed and should be judged at full speed and if a call on the field is not deemed clearly wrong reviewing it at full speed it should stand. These frame by frame reviews are stealing the soul of the game.

45. Packernet says:

Pretty much the only people complaining about the rule is the fans and media. The players know you have to have to control to the ground. I don’t see an issue.

46. z0inks says:

Seems to me a lot of these controversial calls could be avoided by coaching players to tuck and secure the ball after catching it. They’re getting ahead of themselves and trying to make a secondary move before completeting the catch to establish possession.

47. The call made concerning the Pitt TE was easy, unless you’re a Steeler fan! He hit the ground ball clearly moved, no catch! Secure ball first, then, dive, lunge or whatever!

48. The rule itself needs to change back to the old rule. Possession, two feet down, step or football move whatever you want to call it.

The same rule that applies to a runner when he crosses the plane should apply to a receiver when he catches a ball in the end zone. He has possession of the ball in the end zone, by definition the ball has crossed the plane, touchdown.

This convoluted rule they have now needs to go.

49. Start a new league? Because I’m so done with this one.

50. Just declaring a part of the play unreviewable will only invite more controversy.
We need less, not more of that, at this point.

51. Here’s the real question. Football has been around over 100 years and we’re debating what a catch is? What did they do back in the 1920’s? Whatever it was, bring it back. There, problem solved.

52. tommytd says:

What ever happened to that “the ground cannot cause a fumble” mumbo jumbo? Seems to me if a guy has control of the ball going down and then the ball “moves” when he hits the ground guess what…the ground caused a fumble. Just asking…

53. Won’t change anything . Someone will call a catch and a fumble on the field and the other team will claim it wasn’t a catch and it won’t be reviewable.

54. If the ball breaks the plane it’s a TD.
The End.

55. As a pats fan I feel like we stole one from the Steelers… Unofficially but officially…

If a receiver controls the ball and breaks the plain it should be a touchdown regardless of what happens when the ball hits the turf.

A qb can quick snap the ball and hold it over the plain by pile jumping then get the ball knocked out and it’s a touchdown…
That’s kinda the same thing in my opinion.

56. Believe the Bert Emmanuel catch/non-catch against Tampa Bay is what started this whole mess…Mike’s proposal is simply reverting back to prior to that when everyone knew what a catch was, not the mess we have today in the NFL…

57. Just make the going to the ground part only applicable if a player is on the field of play and untouched. That preserves the original reason for all the tweaking in the first place and makes the vast majority of these issues go away. The reason they added the survive the ground part of the catch rule was to prevent an inordinate amount of fumbles when receivers dove to catch the ball. If a receiver is contacted by a defender or goes to the ground in the end zone or out of bounds the play is complete the instant the player contacts the ground (prior to the subsequent act of losing control). If possession is demonstrated and 2 feet in bounds (or other substitutes such as 1 knee, elbow, etc.) then it is a catch just like it was all those decades before the tinkering. One simple sentence and adequate training of the intent of the rule fixes the debacle.

58. imbebop says:

I think the catch rule is very clear.
If the receiver catches the ball, keeps possession, then runs, it is a catch and the receiver now becomes a runner, therefore the ground cannot cause a fumble.
If the receiver gets possession of the ball but doesn’t run with it and falls to the ground, then loses possession, it is not a catch.

I understand that in one instance he’s a runner, the other he’s a receiver

59. Seems simple enough as currently stated. Receivers must secure the ball completely upon impact with the ground. If ball touches ground and moves…no catch. Need instant replay for this.

60. One for the other thumb says:

Do you realize how many fumbles this will cause on bang-bang plays over the middle? Law of unintended consequences.

61. One for the other thumb says:

tommytd says:
December 23, 2017 at 9:02 am
What ever happened to that “the ground cannot cause a fumble” mumbo jumbo? Seems to me if a guy has control of the ball going down and then the ball “moves” when he hits the ground guess what…the ground caused a fumble. Just asking…
_____________________________________________________________________________

That rule only applies to ball carriers. Because James caught the ball in the air he has to catch the ball thru the ground. James never technically had possession of the ball. It’s the same way the rule has been applied to every receiver who ever jumped up in the air to catch the ball.

62. jamaltimore says:

rules fine and obvious. change the rule and you’ll have just as many complaints by allowing the ball to hit the ground and move around.

63. This rule has impacted every team in the league. So why is it that when it impacts the Steelers, we need to change the rules? The rule is understandable and no matter what Steeler fans say, was applied correctly on the reversal. If you want to change the rule, fine, but don’t make separate rules for where you are on the field and take objectivity out of it…..(Impossible)

64. tommytd says:
December 23, 2017 at 9:02 am
What ever happened to that “the ground cannot cause a fumble” mumbo jumbo? Seems to me if a guy has control of the ball going down and then the ball “moves” when he hits the ground guess what…the ground caused a fumble. Just asking…
~~~~~~~~~~~
That was often used but is/was only accurate when the player was contacted by a defender. If an untouched runner trips and the ball pops out upon contact with the ground it has always been a fumble. That is why they developed this stupid catch rule in the first place. Receivers done to make a catch, landed on the ground causing the ball to pop out and the officials were forced to rule it a catch/fumble for a cheap turnover. Hence the maintain control through the ground part of this rule. The drama we see now is just the unintended consequence of a poorly worded rule that has allowed different interpretations over the years.

65. prideof10000lakes says:
December 23, 2017 at 12:20 am
“So why not make the third part of the formula not subject to replay review? ”

Because that opens the door for too much influence in the hands of the refs (they already have enough) and the potential for game rigging or the ability for the NFL to control game flow to keep games close in an otherwise blow out (they already do, see vikes vs lions on thanksgiving)

No part of the catch rule should be “subjective” or “interpreted”. It needs to be a catch in both game action and slow motion.

25 2 Rate This
———————————————–

“No part of the catch rule should be “subjective” or “interpreted”. It needs to be a catch in both game action and slow motion.” – THIS! Couldn’t say any better.

66. vincespowersweep says:

I stilll think they should go back to the old rule. If the ball touches the ground, no catch. Period. At least it would be clear.

67. Here is a much simpler change to the rule that has very little subjectivity. A catch is made when a receiver controls the ball and he makes contact with the ground with two feet, a foot and a hand or one other body part.

End of discussion. No “football move”. No “maintaining possession while going to the ground”. None of that BS. You will have many more fumbles as receivers get hit right after making a catch, but so what?

Simple, easy to rule, easy to understand.

68. here’s an even simpler solution – leave it alone.

69. idislikespeciousness says:

Why didn’t they fix it when the Cowboys got screwed? Who was the benefactor then? Why fix it now? Who was the benefactor here?

70. intentionallywidenberg says:

Bruce Payne says:
Why is it any other player on the field crosses the plain of the end zone the play is over and points on the board? Except receivers.
—————————————————–
Because ‘any other player’ already has possession of the ball.
You need to establish possession before you can score. It’s that simple.

What is being argued is how possession is established.

71. walker1191 says:

I hope the rule gets changed and then next year the Patriots win a game in Pittsburgh when Gronkowski catches a ball, get two feet down, breaks the plane and the ball comes out when he lunges into the end zone.

Then everyone can demand the rule get changed back since it the new one is “unfair”.

72. rjov says:
December 22, 2017 at 11:11 pm
Who cares if the ball moves? I hate what they’re doing with this. We all know what a catch is, if it moves a little so what. If you come down with the ball and it doesn’t clearly leave your hands then it’s a catch.

48 24 Rate This

—————

it can move…
the ground just can’t aid the securing of final reception

pretty clear

73. atthemurph says:
December 23, 2017 at 11:04 am
Here is a much simpler change to the rule that has very little subjectivity. A catch is made when a receiver controls the ball and he makes contact with the ground with two feet, a foot and a hand or one other body part.

End of discussion. No “football move”. No “maintaining possession while going to the ground”. None of that BS. You will have many more fumbles as receivers get hit right after making a catch, but so what?

Simple, easy to rule, easy to understand.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
All that will do (the fumble aspect) is swap what the teams/fans involved are arguing. Instead of “that was a catch”, if the defense recovers the ball the same person would be saying “that was NOT a catch…nothing is really fixed.

74. dagator8888 says:
December 23, 2017 at 10:26 am
This rule has impacted every team in the league. So why is it that when it impacts the Steelers, we need to change the rules? The rule is understandable and no matter what Steeler fans say, was applied correctly on the reversal. If you want to change the rule, fine, but don’t make separate rules for where you are on the field and take objectivity out of it…..(Impossible)

6 2 Rate This

————

because the pats won and secured victory on a play soon after

haters are so jealous of the pats this is why people like bill polian, whinebaugh or tomlin sit as chairman atop the competition committee

75. j7067 says:
December 23, 2017 at 9:33 am
As a pats fan I feel like we stole one from the Steelers… Unofficially but officially…

If a receiver controls the ball and breaks the plain it should be a touchdown regardless of what happens when the ball hits the turf.

A qb can quick snap the ball and hold it over the plain by pile jumping then get the ball knocked out and it’s a touchdown…
That’s kinda the same thing in my opinion.

14 12 Rate This

—————

i agree, but tomlin voted the current rule in the way it is

talk to tomlin and ask why he did this to his own team

lol

76. hess97 says:

The language that I keep hearing, but don’t know if it is in the official rule is, whether the ball moves when it hits the ground. That part should be eliminated and changed to if the player loses control of the ball…meaning if the ball simply moves a little it’s still a catch; if the ball is obviously out of control of the hands and touching the ground it is incomplete. A little movement happens all the time, and they would never charge a fumble to a ball carrier each time the ball moved in his hands, right?

77. I’m pleasantly surprised that most of us agree the current rule is the most consistent and understandable option. Additionally, the exception that proves the rule occurred in January 2016 when the Larry Fitzgerald drop was a let “stand” as a catch. I didn’t have a dog in that fight, but it was clearly a situation where the officials decided Larry Fitzgerald never drops passes so we’ll let this one slide. Lion, Cowboy, and Steeler fans should be pointing to that “completion.”

78. weepingjebus says:

Face it, poorly coached teams run afoul of this rule because the team apparently can’t teach receivers to control it to the ground if they are diving for the end zone. I am tired of dumbing down the rules because of “pro” teams that don’t read them or teach them in the first place.

79. Let see, we have Billionaire owners whining about bad plays. We have millionaire coaches and players whining about rules, we have everyone second guessing the officials because their fantasy players are not getting the calls.
This sounds like my grandchildrens kidngarden play ground.
The rule is the rule, the call is the call with the existing rules. Like it or not it is what it is.

Remove the ball crossing the goal line call, even a runner should complete the play to the ground, if a runner fumbles while crossing the goal line it should be a fumble not a touchdown…complete the play that removes all ambiguity.

81. blorjr says:

With the steeler fans saying they got robbed maybe they should ask Tomlinson if he introduced any change to the rules, After all he is on the competition committee.

82. walker1191 says:

What exactly is the argument from the Steelers or the need to now, after 4 years, suddenly change the rule?

Is it that they think when his knee touched he was “to the ground” and didn’t need to hold the ball as he continued going down?

Or that they think he did control the ball on the ground as it spun out of his hand and landed on the ground?

Or that they think the officials in NY had insufficient evidence to evaluate that?

Because as written, the rule is perfectly clear, and the call seemed obvious to me.

83. The only problem is people whining about it. The rule is clear.

84. There is no such thing as an “unfair” rule. Regardless of how a rule is written, it will always be 100% “fair” since both teams have to play to that rule’s standard.

There is no reason to change the catch rule. Players just need to understand they can’t lose control of the ball when they hit the ground in the process of a reception. Every scoring play is reviewed, which is a good thing. If that play had been in the middle of the field it is unlikely it would have been challenged, so no review.

85. they could call the tuck rule 2

86. rsoandb says:

NFL has made this too complicated. Back in the day, if you catch the ball without it hitting the ground and you’re in bounds, it’s a catch. Go back to that and get rid of all this nonsense.

87. If during the review process it is deemed receiver HAS/HAD POSSESSION the review ends there! It is illogical that any situation can change from “has possession” to reversing the “has possession”, why would it matter that the player did not take that possession uneventfully to the ground?

88. By forcing the current interpretation of a “catch” to include taking logically determined (mid-play) possession to the ground–without ball movement–the NFL has inadvertently incentivized defensive players to dislodge receiver from ball after possession has occurred. This defies every aspect of the NFL’s prioritization of SAFETY as they move forward. Is the penalty/fine/possible suspension a sufficient deterrent when an illegal cheap shot can positively reverse the outcome for the guilty individual’s team? It sure doesn’t appear that it does.

89. By forcing the current interpretation of a “catch” to include taking logically determined (mid-play) possession to the ground–without ball movement–the NFL has inadvertently incentivized defensive players to dislodge receiver from ball after possession has occurred. This defies every aspect of the NFL’s prioritization of SAFETY as they move forward. Is the penalty/fine/possible suspension a sufficient deterrent when an illegal cheap shot can positively reverse the outcome for the guilty individual’s team? It sure doesn’t appear that it is.

90. walker1191 says:

hess97 says:
December 23, 2017 at 12:25 pm

The language that I keep hearing, but don’t know if it is in the official rule is, whether the ball moves when it hits the ground. That part should be eliminated and changed to if the player loses control of the ball…meaning if the ball simply moves a little it’s still a catch; if the ball is obviously out of control of the hands and touching the ground it is incomplete. A little movement happens all the time, and they would never charge a fumble to a ball carrier each time the ball moved in his hands, right?
——————————————————————————————————————————-
In this case the ball was obviously out of control of the hands and touching the ground, but Steeler fans are still whining about it.

So no amount of rule change or tweaking or roll back will make any difference – any call that goes against the Steelers will immediately be deemed unfair and the league will try to change it.

91. manzoa says:

Look the problem is Riveron is taking over from the officials on the field. If NY followed the rule that is on the books already…there must be conclusive evidence to overrule the call on the field, that would go a long way to resolving the catch/no catch issue.

92. Anthony Berry says:

I believe that the rule was correctly applied. Anyone whose has been watching football knew what the outcome would be.

I also understand why some people are confused beyond just being Pitt fans. Which is also why some Cowboy fans believe Dez caught it. It’s the football move part of a catch. 9/10 times a player jumps up and comes straight down so there is no reason to bring that part of the catch process into question.

It’s the few times that a player is coming to the ground and is able to compose himself enough to attempt a football related move the NFL just needs to clarify to people. If they come out and say a receiver can not be established as a runner or make a football move while in the process of falling everything about the catch process is solved. Dez being able to lunge and James streching towards the endzone mean nothing.

I understand the way the rule is that they have basically already said this. I’m just saying if they put it out in black and white less people would be confused.

93. melikefootball says:

Yet a running back can fumble the ball across line and TD TD TD

94. switchwitch59 says:

johngaltx says:

December 22, 2017 at 11:00 pm

Refs should not be allowed to see the replays in super slow motion. Maybe slowed by 50%, or maybe only in real time. Allowing the refs to see plays at a thousand frames per second or slower makes the review process “super human” in it’s application. Anything slower than half speed should not be allowed.
——————————
Are you trying to drown me or my laptop? “A thousand frames per second” is beyond the current capability of all video cameras, most video is recorded at 24 or 30 fps. Somehow I don’t think replay of 1000 fps when the video is recorded at 30 fps is slow motion, where I learned math that would be super high speed. Please, please, please save our keyboards by learning something before spouting off about it.

95. usdcoyotesfan says:

Dez Bryant did not catch the ball and the Packers won fair and square.

96. hess97 says:
December 23, 2017 at 12:25 pm

The language that I keep hearing, but don’t know if it is in the official rule is, whether the ball moves when it hits the ground. That part should be eliminated and changed to if the player loses control of the ball…meaning if the ball simply moves a little it’s still a catch; if the ball is obviously out of control of the hands and touching the ground it is incomplete.

Please describe in detail, so everyone can understand and agree, what you mean when you say,”a little”. I’d love to hear the ref announce to the stadium, “the ball only moved a little therefore, touchdown!. Or better,”the ball moved a little too much, therefore, incomplete”. Thanks for fixing things and ending all arguments on this matter.

97. melikefootball says:
December 23, 2017 at 7:43 pm

Yet a running back can fumble the ball across line and TD TD TD

people please, it’s different for runners and receivers. Always has been. Stop acting like something needs to be “fixed” (see what I did there?) simply bc NE won.

98. Angelo Caiazzo says:

Under these present rules some of the greatest catches in the history of the league would be ruled incomplete.

Make it simple and forget the whole “possession” thing. If the receiver keeps it off the ground and hangs on to it it’s a catch. You can’t talk about things like “bobbling” when a guy can pin a ball to his helmet and it be ruled a catch.

So you ask, what if the guy makes the catch but the hits the ground? It’s fine as long as that contact doesn’t knock the ball loose. The ground cannot cause a fumble, so they said.

99. Terry Lynch says:

Jesse James had possession when his knee touched. Catch. When the ball moved before he had been touched it is a fumble that he recovered. What am i missing here?

100. thepedestrianoff says:

Tie goes to the runner.

101. rje49 says:

stillperfect says:
December 23, 2017 at 6:02 am
Just like the tuck rule. Work it for the Patriots and then get rid of it once the smoke clears.

Um, you do know the tuck rule wasn’t gotten “rid of” until about 13 years later, right? There goes your anti-Patriots case.

102. rje49 says:

Terry Lynch says:
December 27, 2017 at 10:13 am
Jesse James had possession when his knee touched. Catch. When the ball moved before he had been touched it is a fumble that he recovered. What am i missing here?

You’re missing the rule. He didn’t retain possession to the ground. No catch. Sorry, that is the rule.

103. rje49 says:

hess97 says:
December 23, 2017 at 12:25 pm

The language that I keep hearing, but don’t know if it is in the official rule is, whether the ball moves when it hits the ground. That part should be eliminated and changed to if the player loses control of the ball…meaning if the ball simply moves a little it’s still a catch; if the ball is obviously out of control of the hands and touching the ground it is incomplete.

Please describe in detail, so everyone can understand and agree, what you mean when you say,”a little”. I’d love to hear the ref announce to the stadium, “the ball only moved a little therefore, touchdown!. Or better,”the ball moved a little too much, therefore, incomplete”. Thanks for fixing things and ending all arguments on this matter.

Look at it again; the ball didn’t just move a little. James’ hands were off the ball when the ball was laying on the ground. It’s called lack of possession. Not a completed pass.

104. hishighness says:

I’ve got a better solution, all of you google “nfl operations completing a catch” and actually learn the rule. This whole scandal is caused by two things:

#1 Everyone hates the Patriots because they’re sick of losing to them.

#2 The NFL has done a terrible job educating people about the catch rule.

Luckily if you Google the search I listed above it takes you to a nice, easy to understand video that tells you exactly what a catch is and isn’t.

Problem solved.