Mike Vrabel chimes in during Broncos-Chiefs game by quoting the catch rule to the NFL

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Coaches are prohibited from criticizing officiating. On Sunday night, a coach on a bye chimed in, without criticism, regarding a key call made in the Broncos-Chiefs game.

On a pass thrown to Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (which he seemed to catch and then fumble), the ruling on the field was that Kelce didn’t make the catch. Replay review confirmed that Kelce failed to satisfy the third element of a catch — having the ball in his possession long enough for it to become a catch.

In response to a tweet from the NFL’s officiating account explaining the decision, Titans coach Mike Vrabel (a member of the Competition Committee) responded by copying and pasting the language of the relevant rule.

Although Vrabel didn’t explain the reason for doing so, the rule as to the third element of a catch becomes particularly relevant. The process of making a catch concludes when the receiver either has performed an act common to the game OR has maintained control of the ball long enough to do so. Thus, it’s not just “time.” That is irrelevant if the player actually performs an act common to the game.

The rule lists several acts common to the game, including taking a third step or tucking the ball away. Kelce, in the video posted by the NFL’s officiating department, tucks the ball away before it’s knocked out.

The tuck happens quickly, but it happens. Of course, with the ruling on the field being that the pass was incomplete, the league would have needed clear and obvious evidence that Kelce completed the catch. The bang-bang nature of the play, with the ball being dislodged just as it’s touched, would have supported a finding that there was no clear and obvious evidence to overturn whatever the ruling on the field was.

Regardless, that’s not how the NFL explained it. The NFL said that Kelce isn’t complete the process because the “time” element wasn’t met. The “act common to the game” apparently was.

Meanwhile, the league probably isn’t thrilled by the fact that an influential coach like Vrabel broke ranks. If so, too bad. With the league office providing little or no transparency when it comes to close and/or bad calls (or providing inaccurate transparency when being transparent), someone needs to say what needs to be said.

Even though, in this case, what Vrabel said sort of fell into the “just sayin'” category. He didn’t directly make his point. After further review, we think. We get. The point.

Mike Vrabel chimes in during Broncos-Chiefs game by quoting the catch rule to the NFL originally appeared on Pro Football Talk