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NFL competition committee puts out recommendations for simplified catch rules

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San Diego Chargers v Oakland Raiders Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Finally, the NFL is making an attempt to simplify and thereby clarify what is a catch. Today the NFL competition committee announced how they will be recommending the catch rule should look.

NFL Senior VP of officiating Al Riverson put out the recommendations. They are as follows:

  1. Control
  2. Two feet down or another body part
  3. A football move such as:
  • A third step
  • Reaching/extending for the line to gain
  • Or the ability to perform such an act

This appears to be eliminating the ludicrous rule about needing to maintain possession all the way to the ground.

That part of the rule has taken what should have been catches by most accounts away from receivers far too many times in the NFL.

One catch that jumps to mind for me that went against the Raiders was a throw to Michael Crabtree in week 11 of the 2015 season in which he clearly had both feet down inbounds, but while using both hands to try to keep from injuring himself out of bounds on the Detroit sideline, the ball came loose and it was ruled incomplete. A perfect illustration of just how stupid the catch rule was.

Had that been ruled a catch, it would have given the Raiders a first down in Detroit territory for the first time in the game. Instead it was a punt. They would go into the half down 9-0 and lose 18-13.

After the game, Jack Del Rio called out the league rules for how terrible they were with regard to what is deemed a catch.

“It’s not a good rule, but it’s a rule,” said Del Rio. “I think we could do the hundred people in the bar test and there’d be 99 if not 100% would say that’s a catch. Frustrating, but that’s what it is.”

That would go doubly for Lions fans. After all, it was Calvin Johnson’s infamous game-winning TD catch that wasn’t that has long stood as the most egregious example of how bad the NFL’s catch rule was.

That was a catch then, and it is a catch now. Maybe the NFL will finally figure that out too.