Revising the NFL’s Catch Rules?

Imagine watching your favorite NFL team on the goal line, it’s a play-off game, nearing the decision if they will go play for the Super Bowl or not. A touchdown is all your team needs to take the lead, and have a high chance of winning the game. But the dreams and hopes of your team playing for the Super Bowl is only a myth, because of a rule that was poorly made.

Many people who are true football fans can think about another instance where the Detroit Lions faced almost the same thing. Dez Bryant, a talented receiver, lost the game for his team due to bobbling of the ball when he fell to the ground. NFL coaches revealed that he convened a summit earlier this month of five Hall of Fame wide receivers and several coaches to discuss the rule. The timing coincided roughly with the league’s most recent catch controversy, the Week 15 play in which Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Jesse James was ruled to have dropped a potential game-winning touchdown against the New England Patriots.

James was unable to maintain control of the ball throughout the process of going to the ground, a portion of the catch rule that appears to be of particular concern to Goodell. The intent of the rule is to give officials a clear and bright line for judging a catch, but Goodell made clear he now considers it problematic.

“You want there to be clarity from an officiating standpoint and a coaching and player standpoint,” Goodell said. “… I think here you might have clarity in a large element of it, but what happens is that it’s not the rule that people really want.”

Details of the league’s plan to tweak the rule are not yet decided. But sources indicated it will focus on instances like the James play, or those involved in this scandalous rule. Wide receiver Calvin Johnson and Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant  in previous years, where receivers initially appear to have control of the ball while falling the ground, but officials say that they lost control of the ball, due to the catch rule regulations. The NFL’s competition committee will hold regular meetings over the next two months, and it’s hopeful that the new rule could be implemented into the game sooner than later.