Al Riveron unveils Competition Committee’s catch rule recommendation

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The NFL will be addressing the catch rule once again at the upcoming league meetings and head of officiating Al Riveron has revealed what the Competition Committee is recommending.

On Twitter, Riveron shared the committee’s recommendation that a player should be deemed to have caught a ball when they have control, two feet/another body part down and a football move. The football move is further defined as a third step, reaching or extending the ball for the line to-gain or “the ability to perform such an act.”

There’s nothing in there about going to the ground, which was a contentious part of the rule in recent years. The subjectiveness of the third part of the football move portion of the rule in particular seems ripe for similar contentiousness, however, and it remains to be seen how Riveron will be handling any replay challenges centered on that or determination of the first two parts.

NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent said this week that the league will “go back to the old replay standard of reverse the call on the field only when it’s indisputable,” something many felt wasn’t the case on many Riveron-led reviews during the regular season.

The league meetings get underway on Sunday and any change to the rules requires votes from 24 of 32 teams.

58 responses to “Al Riveron unveils Competition Committee’s catch rule recommendation

  1. “Troy Vincent said this week that the league will “go back to the old replay standard of reverse the call on the field only when it’s indisputable,” something many felt wasn’t the case on many Riveron-led reviews during the regular season.”

    I must have missed something. If that wasn’t the standard in 2017, what WAS the standard?

  2. “”assuming they are on their feet””

    That kinda addresses the “going to the ground” part doesn’t it?

  3. Horrible rule. It’s going to get shot down. There is nothing wrong with the current catch rule.

  4. Subjectivity in the last part of the rule isn’t an issue if the replay official stands by the “indisputable evidence” standard for overturning a call. If there is a reasonable doubt, don’t overturn, easy as that. Well, easy as that AND having the one replay official be consistent in his calls. Consistency is really all we’re asking for.

  5. So in other words, they want to go back to what worked for the entire history of football before Goodell and his cronies started changing the game.

    As I and many others have repeatedly posted they should do.

    About damn time.

  6. I guess the era of Tom Brady and the Patriots is finally over. The rule is ok to change since the Patriots will no longer be front runners.

  7. I’m confused. What happens when a WR catches a ball with 2 feet down and then falls or gets shoved out of bounds?

    How about something simple, like the ball isn’t allowed to touch the ground?

  8. Isn’t ironic that in a QB driven, pass happy league the NFL cannot come up with a definition of a catch that is reliable, repeatable and doesn’t invite second guessing? If you look at decisions Al Riveron reversed in the season vs. his calls in the playoffs you would think 2 different rules were in effect. I think it’s simple – if the player has control as he starts to make a football move it’s a catch. If he catches the ball in the air and landing on the ground jars the ball loose before he makes a football move – no catch. What am I missing?

  9. Great. More check boxes and vague language…
    When will they get it. Simplify the rules, don’t add more necessary steps

  10. I think they should just get five drunk people in a bar to decide these things by committee. No doubt Bud Lite would happily sponsor this.

  11. Why not control of ball, two feet/other body part and forget all the football move stuff? Would end all the subjectivity. tow feet, control of ball. No steps needed. No football move needed just control and two feet down. End of story.

  12. What ever happened to the ground can’t cause a fumble ?
    ——

    For a fumble to occur you must first catch the ball and have possession. Can’t fumble what you don’t catch

  13. A step in the right direction. I don’t know why they complicate this so much. For 80 years everyone knew what a catch was, then the Bert Emanuel play made everyone lose their minds.

  14. Does any other sport tinker with their rules as frequently as the NFL as a reaction to upset teams and fans? Does the NBA change the definition of traveling every couple years? Does the NFL move the blue line backwards or forwards a couple inches because there was a controversial call the year before?

  15. I wish the rule was, “Referee, does it look like a catch to you? If it does, call it a catch.”

    I bet teams and fans would agree (at least if they were being objective) 99% of the time.

  16. yankeemofo says:
    March 21, 2018 at 1:33 pm
    With 100 HD camera angles, you should be able to get a replay call correct.
    —————–
    Yet, somehow, they still do not have cameras pointed straight down the goal lines (or overhead the goal line) to review TD plays without viewing it at an angle.

  17. Why not just use the Madden rule…”If five guys sitting on a barstool think it’s a catch, then it’s a catch.” Why let NFL HQ decide…they should have a hotline to The Drunken Clam.

  18. Without a dog in the fight, I thought they got it right on both the close calls on catches by the Eagles in the Super Bowl. It wasn’t the wording of the rule, it was the training and attitude of the person making the replay call–Riveron. It was obvious someone had told him not to be so lawyerly as he had been during the regular season, to use some common sense, and he got it right…imo.

    That’s the key, training. The rule is always going to have a subjective element of “possession” and what that means. But the training of the replay officials is what’s important, and that’s what improved before the Super Bowl. The rule is going to be subjective, so you need to train the replay officials how to apply common sense within the rule.

  19. They say this is in response to fan outcry denouncing the previous rule. It wasnt perfect but they are making a mistake changing it. There is no such thing as a perfect bulletproof rule and all they are doing by tweaking it so much is just creating a deeper quagmire. What they should have done is just said thats what the rule is, it can both giveth or taketh away but in any event it applies equally to all teams so however imperfect at least its fair.

    As far as fan outcry there is nothing they can do. Fans arent interested in fair or even in understanding the rule. If its for their team its good, if its against their team its bad. It does not matter if the league can explain itself or not, they are dealing with people not interested in explanations. And as far as clarity thats moot too, there are too many cases where the call was clear as heck and well explained too, but guys will just self delude themselves into thinking it was bad if it wasnt in favor of their team. And blame the NFL anyhow.

  20. Instead of Riveron deciding replays why doesn’t the NFL have three deciders(referees or judges)scattered around the country look at the replay. Then they buzz in to Riveron their decisions. That way it will be decision by committee not by one person. Should not be a problem in this day and age.

  21. Does the NBA change the definition of traveling every couple years?…get real, NBA’s been ignoring the traveling rule for years and years…just as they ignore palming the ball…

  22. Seems to me replay should be at game speed. Not frame by frame slow motion. That way replay would see the play the same way as the on field officials. And only egregious mistakes would be apparent. Which is what they say they want. The only difference being that you might be able to see a better angle. But the frame by frame nitpicking is where the subjectiveness comes in and has got to go.

  23. Robot Impurity says:
    March 21, 2018 at 1:51 pm
    I think they should just get five drunk people in a bar to decide these things by committee. No doubt Bud Lite would happily sponsor this.
    ——
    I don’t think it is possible to get drunk on Bud Lite.

  24. redsoxu571 says:
    “… Consistency is really all we’re asking for.”
    ————————————————–
    Exactly! And this new rule gives us more subjectivity. Sigh.

  25. This is the NFL still trying to cover it’s backside in the catch/not a catch for Megatron.

    If instead of using the ball to stop himself from falling, if Calvin Johnson had spiked the ball (a football ‘move’), then it would have been a catch. Preventing himself from injury is not a football move, so it’s still an incomplete catch.

  26. They will get rid of the passing game because they get tired of changing the catch rule every year. Whiners gonna whine.

  27. chickensalad43 says:
    March 21, 2018 at 1:25 pm
    Al Riveron’s explanation on Twitter for reversing the Kelvin Benjamin catch is pure comedy

    —————-

    I keep hearing attempts to make sure the Benjamin play was a catch but the video certainly shows that he failed to get that back foot down. So why does everyone insist on calling it a catch…it was not. These bang bang fast plays are virtually impossible for a human to call correctly without help so why so much opposition to using the technological help to get it right rather than to get it fast. Not getting that part and hope the new proposed wording does not pass. I’d rather they get it right than get it fast.

  28. wte1 says:
    March 21, 2018 at 1:27 pm
    Horrible rule. It’s going to get shot down. There is nothing wrong with the current catch rule.
    ———————————————————

    I agree. I am in the minority who didnt mind the previous rule and thought that with time the NFL was getting more consistent with its application. I think the most important change is to only overturn for blatantly wrong calls and stop figuring out if the buttcheek was down far enough before it hit the goal line.

  29. mongo3401 says:
    March 21, 2018 at 1:25 pm
    What ever happened to the ground can’t cause a fumble ?
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    It never really has been that. If a runner falls of his own accord and the ball pops out when he hits the ground that has ALWAYS been a fumble. The ground cannot cause a fumble if contact was made by a defender because the play is over via down by contact the instant he hits the ground.

  30. “toadinthewoods says:
    March 21, 2018 at 2:21 pm
    Without a dog in the fight, I thought they got it right on both the close calls on catches by the Eagles in the Super Bowl………someone had told him not to be so lawyerly as he had been during the regular season”

    Umm…that is the EXACT reason the Clement call was NOT correct! You can’t change the way you enforce a rule during the Superbowl.

  31. Why not control of ball, two feet/other body part and forget all the football move stuff? Would end all the subjectivity. tow feet, control of ball. No steps needed. No football move needed just control and two feet down. End of story.

    ———–

    I understand why this sounds like a solution, but you can’t do this. There would be 20 fumbles a game.

  32. Noah Webb says:
    March 21, 2018 at 1:33 pm
    I guess the era of Tom Brady and the Patriots is finally over. The rule is ok to change since the Patriots will no longer be front runners.

    ———————
    What if next year a play unfolds in a way that this new rule helps them where the old rule would not have? What if it makes a game changing difference in the playoffs and gives them a win the old rule would not have? Will you be at peace with that?

  33. packerfan1000 says:
    March 21, 2018 at 6:04 pm
    Why not control of ball, two feet/other body part and forget all the football move stuff? Would end all the subjectivity. tow feet, control of ball. No steps needed. No football move needed just control and two feet down. End of story.

    ———–

    I understand why this sounds like a solution, but you can’t do this. There would be 20 fumbles a game.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Yep, all those bang-bang plays would be fumbles.

  34. What ever happened to the ground can’t cause a fumble ?
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    It never really has been that. If a runner falls of his own accord and the ball pops out when he hits the ground that has ALWAYS been a fumble. The ground cannot cause a fumble if contact was made by a defender because the play is over via down by contact the instant he hits the ground.

    Just a bad announcers cliche.

  35. SBLIIChampionEagles says:
    March 21, 2018 at 3:09 pm
    Possession of ball, 2 feet in bounds. Pretty simple stuff guys.

    Hmm.. what i the receiver catches the ball 13″ from the sideline, short by 11″ that you are recommending?

  36. With the laws of gravity, aren’t we all going to the grand at all times?

    This is how ridiculous a football rulebook has become.

  37. You had me at “possession and two feet down”. This “football move” is crap and NOT NEEDED–it will simply lead to a gray area and controversy. You will be surprised at how many good fans won’t give two bleeps about the “football move” being pulled out of the discussion.

  38. “What ever happened to the ground can’t cause a fumble ?”

    That never was a rule. That was simply broadcasters’ made up dialogue.

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