NFL Competition Committee Finalizes Catch Rule Proposal Ahead Of Annual League Meeting
The NFL’s rule-making competition committee has finished its proposal that hopes to simplify the sport’s controversial catch rule.
NFL new catch rule proposal
The committee’s proposal is set to be presented at the league’s annual meeting in Orlando next week. It must be ratified by at least 24 of the 32 team owners and, if approved, would take effect next season.
Al Riveron, the NFL’s senior vice president of officiating, announced Wednesday on Twitter that the new rule will require a receiver to maintain control of the football with two feet (or another body part) on the ground. The receiver must then perform a football move, like taking another step or reaching the ball toward the goal line or first-down marker, Riveron added.
Troy Vincent, the NFL’s executive vice president of football operations, said in a phone interview Tuesday that the new rule no longer requires a receiver who hits the ground while catching a pass to maintain possession of the football while on the turf to be awarded a legal catch.
Slight movement of the ball while in the wideout’s hands detected via instant replay review will no longer be ruled as an incompletion as long as the receiver is deemed to have control of the ball, Vincent said.
Vincent added that indisputable video evidence will be required on replay under the new rule to overturn a catch ruling made by officials on the field, rather than a standard of clear and obvious.
One of the most debated catches from last season that was ruled incomplete was one made by the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Jesse James against the New England Patriots. Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant was also denied a completed catch during the NFC playoffs at the end of the 2014 season. Those two catches would be considered legal under the new rule, the NFL said.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell stated during Super Bowl week that he wanted the competition committee to start from scratch in rewriting the catch rule.
GLENDALE, AZ – OCTOBER 01: Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald #11 of the Arizona Cardinals makes the game winning catch in the end zone during overtime in the NFL game against the San Francisco 49ers at the University of Phoenix Stadium on October 1, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)