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Florio: NFL to once again revisit catch rule

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  • Florio: NFL to once again revisit catch rule

    NFL to once again revisit catch rule
    Posted by Mike Florio on January 28, 2018, 7:33 AM EST

    The perpetually unresolved question of what is and isn’t a catch in the NFL lingers. So will it be considered again this offseason?

    “Has it ever not been?” Falcons president/CEO and Competition Committee chairman Rich McKay recently said on PFT Live.

    “Will it be talked about?” McKay added. “Absolutely, because again every year we’re going to have six to eight plays as replay becomes more and more a part of our lives because, quite frankly, technology just gets better and better. Then all of a sudden the scrutiny applied to a play like that gets even higher. Yes, you need to go back and you need to make sure — our rules forever have been written for on-field officiating and trying to make sure that we put the officials in a place on the field where they can officiate and be consistent in their officiating.”

    The problem arises in large part from the fact that the decisions made in real time by the officials on the field are now picked apart from multiple angles in super-slow motion.

    “Sometimes, it gets a little inconsistent when you then begin to review them in replay at frame-by-frame in what looks like a simple decision by an on-field official,” McKay said. “It’s not quite so simple when it’s at full speed. I think we just need to make sure the way we look at it in replay and the way we’re telling the on-field official to officiate are consistent. Maybe that requires us to discuss the language, which we have many times before. I think Commissioner Goodell has done a great job in the last five years on this topic. I’ve been to New York twice where we’ve had a bunch of people including former receivers and former head coaches — just a bunch of different people that go in there and watch a series of plays and say, ‘OK, let’s talk ourselves through this rule and talk through do you want to change it do you like it do you not like it?’ We really haven’t done major changes to it. We’ve done a lot of tweaks to it. We’ll probably do that same process this year.”

    When they do that same process this year, will they consider the PFT suggestion that the third element of the catch rule — whether the receiver had the ball long enough to clearly become a runner — should be exempt from replay review due to the subjective nature of the provision that kicks in after the player has the ball in his hands and gets two feet or another body part on the ground?

    “I think it’s an interesting point,” McKay said, “and I think it’s one that merits discussion because what you’re saying is, ‘Let’s get out of replay in the quote ‘subjective element,’ because that’s a subjective element. We really didn’t design replay initially for subjective elements. It was designed for objective elements. It was designed for sidelines, end zone — it was lines of demarcation, objective elements not subjective. Your point’s a good one. I think we need to just look at it. Look at the plays and as you said earlier don’t overreact to it and tweak it in a way that is consistent realizing that the officials on the field do a really good job with this rule.”

    Given that many of the issues with the catch rule this year came from the decision of the league office to use replay review to overturn rulings on the field based on the inherently subjective third element of the catch rule, maybe the right answer is simply to take replay review out of the portion of the catch/no catch decision that entails as much on-the-fly judgment as does other non-reviewable subjective rulings, like pass interference.
    2016 DCC LOTY Fantasy Football Champion

  • #2
    This really shouldnt be this hard.
    #Fire Garrett


    • #3
      No it shouldn't be this hard. The league needs to quit tinkering with the rules and I agree, it shouldn't be subject to a review. Sometimes I think that video review is as much a curse as a blessing.


      • #4
        2016 DCC LOTY Fantasy Football Champion


        • #5
          Watch them make it even worse
          2018 DCC Super Bowl Bingo Champion


          • #6
            Originally posted by jsmith6919 View Post
            Watch them make it even worse
            I'm sure they will.

            Goodell probably thinks because he played football back in HS that it qualifies him as a football guy. No wonder he and Jerrah are always at odds, they think they're some kind of football savants because they had a cup of coffee playing decades ago. The only difference between him and Jerrah is how they made their money and worked their way up the ladder.


            • #7
              I remember when it use to simply be secure the ball and get two feet in bounds (One knee, butt or shin). Where everything after that came from I have no idea. The process of the catch and going to the ground stuff has become absurd.


              • #8
                If the ball touches the body before it hits the turf (like dodgeball), it’s a completed pass.


                • #9
                  Roger Goodell 'concerned' about NFL catch rule


                  Oh looky since it affected the Steelers, lets revisit the rule


                  • #10
                    NFL VP Troy Vincent confirms changes to NFL catch rule
                    10:19 AM CT

                    NFL executive vice president Troy Vincent told The Washington Post that the league is set to change its controversial catch rule, confirming a report last month by ESPN.

                    Vincent told the Post that the competition committee will propose that the NFL eliminates the "going to the ground" rule, along with the rule that slight movement of the ball in a receiver's hands negates a catch.

                    "We worked backward," Vincent told the Post. "We looked at plays and said: Do you want that to be a catch? And then we applied that to the rule.

                    "Slight movement of the ball, it looks like we'll reverse that. Going to the ground, it looks like that's going to be eliminated. And we'll go back to the old replay standard of reverse the call on the field only when it's indisputable."

                    New York Giants owner John Mara, a member of the competition committee, told ESPN last month at the NFL scouting combine that there was "unanimous" agreement that the league needed to change its catch rule, citing controversial rulings involving Dez Bryant, Calvin Johnson and Jesse James.

                    "I think all of us agree that those should be completions," Mara told ESPN. "So let's write the language to make them completions."

                    Vincent also mentioned Bryant and James in his interview with the Post, which was published Tuesday.

                    The proposed rule changes could be finalized Tuesday, according to the Post, and will be presented to team owners next week at the annual owners meetings in Orlando.
                    2016 DCC LOTY Fantasy Football Champion


                    • #11
                      Now you have to have two hands on the ball only. Swat the ball 3 times and hand the ball to the ref immediately where you caight it.
                      #Fire Garrett


                      • #12
                        Can’t wait for the new buzzword of 2018. It’ll be some shit like a catch must have ‘express possession’ vs ‘general possession’.


                        • #13
                          Instead of tweaking the rule, just go back to whatever it was defined as/enforced before that Calvin Johnson catch vs Detroit those years ago. Like others have said... this isn't that hard. But, the NFL will NFL.


                          • #14
                            I suspect the Ertz catch in the super bowl has a lot to do with changing the league's tune on this.

                            I don't think they wanted the headache of having to justify calling that not a catch given that it's the super bowl.. But then, if you call that a catch, you then have the problem of trying to explain why several very similar catches in the past weren't ruled catches.


                            • #15
                              Ertz catch was clear to me. The one to the runningback earlier in the game that looked like a catch live, then looked questionable in replay.

                              Speaking of questionable catches in the Super Bowl.... 1:50 minute mark: