NFL recommends simplifying language of catch rule

By The Sports Xchange  |  March 21, 2018 at 4:19 PM
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The NFL is attempting to simplify the catch rule for next season after it created so much controversy the past few years.

NFL Senior Vice President of Officiating Al Riveron announced Wednesday that the Competition Committee will recommend new language to determine whether a catch is made.

The proposed changes will be presented at the league meetings, which start Sunday. Any change to the rules requires approval from 24 of the 32 teams to be enacted.

The new catch proposal has three elements:

First, the receiver must control the ball.

Second, the receiver must have two feet down or any other body part down.

Third, a football move must be completed. A football move is defined as a third step after catching the ball, or reaching or extending the ball for the end zone or the line to gain, or the ability to attempt reaching the ball to the line to gain.

What is noticeably absent is any mention that the receiver must retain control after going to the ground. That element, which has been involved in the most contentious rulings of whether a catch was made, has been eliminated.

Gray areas remain, particularly in the third element for a catch, which still requires a subjective judgment.

Presumably, the new rule will lead to more fumbles being called after the receiver has been ruled to have made a catch.

Riveron made no mention of how replay challenges could be used on catches and which elements of a catch could be challenged.

NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent told the Washington Post earlier 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."

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