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Jan 11, 2015; Green Bay, WI, USA; Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant (88) is unable to catch a pass against Green Bay Packers cornerback Sam Shields (37) in the fourth quarter in the 2014 NFC Divisional playoff football game at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

NFL Competition Committee Simplifies Catch Rule

For decades, defining what is and isn’t a catch in the NFL has caused frustration for players, coaches and fans. The Competition Committee proposed several recommendations Wednesday to clarify the catch rule.

Catch rule changes

The Washington Post quotes Troy Vincent, the NFL’s executive vice president of football operations commenting on the committee’s intent. He said the changes revolve around two main provisions, commenting,

“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 disputable.”

Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The “going to the ground” rule Vincent references states, “A player is considered to be going to the ground if he does not remain upright long enough to demonstrate that he is clearly a runner. If a player goes to the ground in the act of catching a pass (with or without contact by an opponent), he must maintain control of the ball until after his initial contact with the ground, whether in the field of play or the end zone.”

It states, “If he loses control of the ball, and the ball touches the ground before he regains control, the pass is incomplete. If he regains control prior to the ball touching the ground, the pass is complete.” As Vincent stated, new considerations get rid of this portion of the rule.

Opposition to the catch rule changes

While many agree that these clarifications are necessary, not everyone is so optimistic about the changes. Michael Hurley of WBZ Boston Sports believes there are new questions that will arise with the new catch rule. Hurley highlights the overturned Jesse James catch in December that caused a lot of controversy between the Steelers and the Patriots.

Catch rule presented to team owners

On Tuesday, March 17th in Orlando, the franchise owners have their annual meeting. In order to set the rule changes in stone, at least 24 of the 32 team owners must agree.

About Kelsey Godman

I grew up in the Washington, DC area and now I'm a Gator. I'll always be learning more about myself, others and the world around me. And I'll always be talking about sports.

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