It's a catch: NFL owners approve simplified catch language

Dean Blandino

Dean Blandino

"The three components of a catch: control, two feet or another body part, and a football move". During the 2018 offseason, the National Football League sought to improve the catch rules, making them more objective, and less subjective.

The rule change was passed unanimously, 32-0, at the league's annual meeting of all 32 team owners Tuesday. Team owners unanimously approved the new language.

The NFL has completed the catch.

"We wanted to simplify and provide clarity", Pittsburgh coach and longtime competition committee member Mike Tomlin said.

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The committee cited overturned receptions by tight ends James and Miller last season among the dozens of plays they reviewed "dozens of times", according to committee chairman Rick McKay, president of the Atlanta Falcons. He felt that a ball moving slightly in a receiver's grasp was being mistaken for lack of control.

"I think the third step recommendation was excellent", Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. But really, the third element, whether it's determining that third step or controlling the ball or making a football movement where the Jesse James play, and everyone wants to make mention of the Dez Bryant play from a few years ago, this will clear up some of the plays that have become controversial as well. "It cleans up a majority of the (catches) that were in question". In my mind a lot of these catches are being called catches on the field in the first place and I think most of our officials know a catch when they see one. "It's going to be much easier for them to understand what is and what isn't".

Also on Tuesday, the league made permanent the rule that changes spotting touchbacks at the 25-yard line, and authorized a designated member of the league's officiating department in NY to decide to eject a player remotely for a flagrant non-football act when a foul for that act is called on the field.

As the report pointed out, the new rule might result in a higher number of fumbles by receivers, since losing the ball on the way to the ground is no longer an automatic incompletion.

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