When the NFL commissioner is ready to dump the catch rule, you know it’s probably in trouble.
In a revealing moment with host Colin Cowherd on Fox Sports Radio, Roger Goodell expressed displeasure over the often criticized catch rule. The angst over the rule hit a crescendo after the New England Patriots beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in the regular season. The key play was a reversed touchdown by Steelers tight end Jesse James. The officials ruled that James didn’t “survive the ground,” and the touchdown was taken away. The officials seemed to enforce the rule correctly, but the rule itself has been the subject of scorn.
If Goodell’s tone about the rule is an indication, it might be overhauled soon.
“I’m not just somewhat concerned, I am concerned,” Goodell told Cowherd when asked if he was somewhat concerned that fans don’t know what a catch is anymore. “We just had five Hall-of-Fame receivers and several coaches come in just two weeks ago to focus on the catch/no catch rule, how we bring clarity.”
Regarding officials, coaches and players, Goodell said, “They know what it is and what it isn’t.” The same could go for fans.
“I think here, you might have clarity in a large element of it, but then what happens is it’s not the rule people really want,” Goodell said.
"I'm not just somewhat concerned, I am concerned… It's particularly in the going to the ground that I think is creating a lot of the confusion." — NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on the 'Catch Rule' pic.twitter.com/sn9CAqwKUv
— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) January 29, 2018
Goodell said a Hall-of-Fame receiver, who he did not name, told him a couple years ago, “Fans want catches.” That’s true, and it also goes to show that Goodell has been asking for feedback on the catch rule for at least a couple years. He said his most recent meeting with former receivers and coaches lasted more than three hours as they went over film of catch rulings.
The aspect that has gotten the most scrutiny — and it has dating back to infamous non-catches by Calvin Johnson and then Dez Bryant — is how going to the ground is officiated.
“It’s particularly in going to the ground that has created a lot of confusion because it’s a different rule when you’re going to the ground than when you’re on the sideline or in the end zone,” Goodell told Cowherd.
Goodell said the competition committee will look at the catch rule in February and March. He didn’t promise any changes, but for those who are sick of debating what an NFL catch is via its complicated rule, the nightmare may soon end.
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