What’s considered a catch in the NFL? That’s not a smart ass joke. It’s a serious question that the League really cannot answer.
We have seen inconsistent calls all season long as slow motion replay has made a catch into something that needs the Supreme Court to weigh in on.
All fans really want is a simple rule. I don’t think most NFL fanatics care what the rule is, as long as it is not subjective and as long as it uses common sense. We’re talking football here, not brain surgery. Let’s figure out a firm rule for what is and what is not a catch.
The main issue I have with the catch rule is that not even an expert on officiating can tell me when a catch is really a catch. I have heard Fox Sports‘ rules guru Mike Pereira sound just as confused as the average Joe when he tries to inform viewers about a catch that’s being challenged.
I have also witnessed the NFL’s VP of officiating Dean Blandino sound like a politician with his explanations of why the refs got a confusing catch ruling right.
The bottom line is that the current catch rules in the NFL are not clear. Not to the casual fan, the diehard football know it alls, or the so called officiating experts.
So how long will the NFL let this catch drama carry on? The NFL is a passer’s league so I would think it vital to start disposing of all this drama involving receptions as soon as possible. There’s no need to let this carry over to next year. If it takes an off season to get a better rule in place, then the wrong leaders are in place.
The passing game is clearly important enough make a change within the next two weeks. We do not need any catch controversies heading into the playoffs. Imagine a Super Bowl decided by one of these terrible rulings. What a disgrace it would be to have an official use a subjective ruling to decide a game between the two best teams in the NFL.
Since I am in the category of the know it all NFL fanatics, I will offer up my suggestions for fixing the NFL catch rule. I have five good options. I may not even agree with the technical aspects of each option. I am more about having a concrete rule in place instead of having the zebras use their own interpretation each week on whether a receiver maintained control or made a football move.
I’ll take any of the options below over getting pissed off every time a ref sounds like a door to door salesman as he tries to convince me that I didn’t just see a great athlete make a legal catch.
5. How about the most strict rule possible. The receiver has to get up with the ball still in his hands. The ball can’t touch the ground at all. If it does before he hands it to the ref, then no catch.
That’s pretty hardcore but at least it would be a rule that can be judged by anyone. Julio or Dez lets the ball get swiped away on the sideline by the defender, no catch. You think ball security would be taken even more seriously?
4. I’m good with requiring the receiver to simply take two steps in the open field after he makes the catch. On the sideline or the edge of the end zone, still two feet in. Full control in real time video review and two steps. Makes total sense and removes any guesswork.
3. No more video reviews on catches. That sounds insane, but what has HD slo-mo gotten us in the catch department? Just confusion. Since video review has only hurt the game when it comes to receptions, just scrap that portion of reviews.
2. I really like the idea of having a timer set on a reviewed catch. Run it in real time and if the receiver holds the ball for one full second before dropping it then it’s a freaking catch.
Defining “control” comes into play here. That’s a big issue. “Does the receiver maintain control for the full second?” Taking slow motion out of the equation makes this less of a concern.
1. Once again, no catch can be reviewed in slow motion. It has to be real time with a group of three officials required to vote within ten seconds of watching the play one time on instant replay. Any longer than ten seconds mixed with slow motion and everything starts to come into question. A catch is something that can’t be dissected for too long or frame by frame.
If two out of three officials say no catch after a quick review and vote, then I’m good with that snap judgement.
These five catch rules are not perfect. They can be held to a specific standard however. From that standpoint any one of them will be a better option than what the NFL currently has in place.
You’re welcome Blandino. I have done your job for you for free. Show some guts and insert a concrete catch rule now.