New catch rule includes more than third step, reaching with ball

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The NFL’s most recent effort to fix the catch rule included the crafting of an objective test for satisfying the all-important third element of the rule. Subjectivity, though not entirely eliminated, has been enhanced by objective examples of satisfying the requirement that the ball be possessed for a specific amount of time.

The two examples cited by the league in passing the catch rule were taking a third step or reaching or extending the ball toward the line to gain. But the final rule identifies other concrete ways in which the player will be deemed to have possessed the ball long enough to complete a catch.

They are: Tucking the ball away; turning upfield; or avoiding or warding off an opponent.

The subject aspect of the catch rule remains, allowing the official to award a catch if the official simply believes that the player had the time to do something that he actually didn’t attempt to do. With five specific “acts common to the game” now listed in the rule as automatic devices for satisfying the time element, there isn’t much else a pass catcher could do short of stand still or immediately fall down during whatever time is deemed to be necessarily to have the ball long enough to complete the act of catching the ball.

39 responses to “New catch rule includes more than third step, reaching with ball

  1. This is not going to end well. Why don’t they just use common sense and let the refs decide if it was a catch or not? If the ref believes the player caught the ball–and if video confirmation is necessary, fine–then it’s a catch. End of story. Most of the time it should be an instantaneous call based on the referee’s judgment. That’s what they pay refs to do, isn’t it? (By the way, I still maintain that Calvin Johnson, Dez Bryant, and Jesse James all caught those balls, no matter what the NFL tries to claim.) The NFL makes this waaaaay harder than it needs to be.

  2. There is no way the refs will get this right. They will spend 30 min under that hood or Skyping their wives about what’s for dinner tonight. What the hell do they do under that hood for that long????

  3. It’s a Catch & TD ONLY if you are playing the Patriots in a SuperBowl….. ANY & ALL RULES that were enforced all season become irrelevant…..
    don’t believe me just rewatch SB52…..

  4. I can only hope that this new rule favors a Partriot’s opponent during the season so we can all hear from their butt hurt fans how there is a conspiracy against the Patriots when we all know the football gods hate cheaters.

  5. They are making this so much more complicated than it needs to be. If the ball touches the ground call it incomplete

  6. Am I supposed to comment about the rule or rant about the Patriots? I need to reread the article because I had thought it was about the catch rule my first time through it.

  7. All the rule changes this offseason have a huge potential to get ugly. Last season had a big issue but it was reviews overturning plays that didn’t have definitive evidence to be overturned. This season the rule changes likely will make obvious incompletions catches due to the rules. Imagine if someone grabs the ball up at their hands, and yanks it down towards their stomach and throws it straight into the ground. But since they were “tucking the ball” it’s a catch. The rules used to favour catches like this decades ago, including a super bowl catch where the receiver fell in the end zone, caught the ball, and instantly dropped the ball as soon as he touched the ground but it was still a catch.

  8. issbillsrings says:
    July 5, 2018 at 3:39 pm
    It’s a Catch & TD ONLY if you are playing the Patriots in a SuperBowl….. ANY & ALL RULES that were enforced all season become irrelevant…..
    don’t believe me just rewatch SB52…
    ——————————————————————————
    I just rewatched and every touchdown looks like a touchdown to me and everyone outside of Boston. Seriously Buddy, THEY WERE CATCHES! ITS CLEAR. PLEASE STOP CRY AND POSTING NON-SENSE JUST BECAUSE YOU REALIZED THERE ARE BETTER TEAMS THEN THE PATRIOTS. GET OVER IT, THE EAGLES BEAT YOU FAIR AND SQUARE, NOW STOP CRYING!!

  9. Situation: a player catches the ball with both feet down, turns his head upfield, and immediately is hit hard by a safety, resulting in the ball being jarred loose and onto the ground. Is it complete and a fumble or incomplete? 2 feet and a head/shoulders turn. What do you think?

  10. The problem wasn’t the way the rule was written it was they way it was enforced. Diving warding off defenders taking a 3rd step and turning upfield were considered football moves players refs and coaches all felt those plays were catches. The NFL started replaying frame by frame and invalidating good calls on the field.

  11. In other words, the catch rule is back to what it used to be before they broke it with vague terms like “football move”.

    This will be great until we start seeing games decided by the new helmet rules that seem utterly un-enforceable without controversy.

  12. If you could make a PB+j in the time you’ve possessed the ball, it’s a catch. Really quite simple.

  13. The specifics of the rule don’t really matter. As long as we have HDTV with super slow mo there will always be plays that straddle the line of whatever rule is in place.
    Instant replay has caused almost as many issues as it helps in nearly every sport.
    It’s like a necessary evil at this point.

  14. SuperBowl52Champs says:
    July 5, 2018 at 4:53 pm
    issbillsrings says:
    July 5, 2018 at 3:39 pm
    It’s a Catch & TD ONLY if you are playing the Patriots in a SuperBowl….. ANY & ALL RULES that were enforced all season become irrelevant…..
    don’t believe me just rewatch SB52…
    ——————————————————————————
    I just rewatched and every touchdown looks like a touchdown to me and everyone outside of Boston. Seriously Buddy, THEY WERE CATCHES! ITS CLEAR. PLEASE STOP CRY AND POSTING NON-SENSE JUST BECAUSE YOU REALIZED THERE ARE BETTER TEAMS THEN THE PATRIOTS. GET OVER IT, THE EAGLES BEAT YOU FAIR AND SQUARE, NOW STOP CRYING!!

    Yes, we can hear you. It’s not that Philly got the calls as much as it was that a similar catch to one called good for Philly went incomplete for NE. So that’s one. The other was a bad formation went unnoticed. Well can you just imagine if that had been NE that got the same call? Philly was the better team that day. There were plays that could have changed the outcome but it didn’t happen so move on but if you watched with your dog mask on you might have missed a few things.

  15. In the beginning, I though replay would be great. Instead, it’s ruined the game.

    Eliminate it, let the officials make the call as they see it, and move on.

    The only way.

  16. packers291 says:
    July 5, 2018 at 5:12 pm
    Situation: a player catches the ball with both feet down, turns his head upfield, and immediately is hit hard by a safety, resulting in the ball being jarred loose and onto the ground. Is it complete and a fumble or incomplete? 2 feet and a head/shoulders turn. What do you think
    __________

    Likely a penalty rendering the ruling on the field moot. At least that’s how the “defenseless receiver” rule has been applied as of recent.

  17. Dez took three steps and reached for the goal line.

    They’ve been wrestling with this ever since his infamous catch/no catch.

    But what I meant to say, is Dez dropped it, right? Right.

  18. jrterrier5 says:
    July 5, 2018 at 4:01 pm
    As soon as the “new rule” ends up going the Patriots’ way, the haters will start clamoring for the rule to be changed. Again.

    45 29 Rate This

    ————–

    and make sure the rule is ignored or changed during the game to help thr pats’ opponents

  19. flviking says:
    July 5, 2018 at 4:00 pm
    I’ve read it twice, and still don’t understand

    I was hoping someone else said this too lol. I kept saying WHAT?!? What did that just say and mean!

  20. This will be nothing compared to the new helmet rule, that new rule cluster will unfairly change the outcome of games with selective enforcement… it’s all about the money, with 100’s of millions on the line, they don’t leave it to chance.

  21. Once the ball crosses the goal line its a TD regardless of what happens afterwards. That was always sacred from the beginning and should never be changed for any reason.

    All of the other catch rule changes come with a host of be careful what you wish for clauses, not the least of which will be what happens after a ball has been deemed a catch – ie a fumble or a penalty.

  22. They’ve been arguing this since Calvin in the Bear’s end zone. I’m taking a wait and see, though I’m sure there will be cases where everybody will be raging catch or no catch. This is almost a given. I’d expect a prop bet if Vegas can figure out how to establish one on when the first one will happen, or how many will happen in a game. 🙂

  23. ” Once the ball crosses the goal line its a TD regardless of what happens afterwards. That was always sacred from the beginning and should never be changed for any reason.”

    That was never the rule for a catch, only applicable to a running play. Here is why, think of the goal line as a sideline, if he loses control and steps out of bounds no catch- the same applies to a goal line.

    Here is a simple solution by these numb skulls. Hold onto the football at all costs, do not expose the ball or handling while performing a catch, don’t let the ball touch the ground….HOld on to it until several refs have to pry it out of your hands after the play.

  24. Ertz took 2 steps sideways, turned upfield and dove with his third step, and in the process warded off a defender. Then crossed the goal line. The ball popped out on the ground as a runner. Not anywhere near part of the catch.

    Is that not a catch now? Because that should be a catch in any game. From 1930 until the end of time. If that wasn’t a catch, Im not sure I want to watch as much. That was a no brainer play, Im sorry.

  25. Doesn’t matter what they do to the rules, fans will b_tch and moan regardless. Just like a nagging wife that wants the air at 72 degrees and can’t accept 74 degrees in a Texas heat wave…..

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