Six-man committee named to tackle NFL "catch" rule

Wide receiver James Thrash #83 of the Washington Redskins makes a catch in the end zone for a touchdown against the Cincinnati Bengals on August 19, 2005 at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland (AFP Photo/Jamie Squire)

New York (AFP) - Former NFL general manager Bill Polian, ex-NFL receiver James Thrash and three former coaches were named Friday to a committee charged with trying to simplify the NFL "catch" rule.

The six-man committee also includes former side judge Tom Finken, one of the officials patroling the sidelines whose job is often to judge the veracity of a reception, plus ex-coaches Joe Philbin, Jim Schwartz and Ken Whisenhunt.

Their mission is to define what constitutes a successful catch. They will make a recommendation to the NFL competition committee on how to change one of the most troublesome rules in the sport.

"I think what we have to do is we have to settle on the rule that is properly communicated, properly understood and be officiated in play that, from a players' perspective, they feel comfortable with," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said Friday.

"We want to be able to understand better how we actually define how long they have to keep possession of the ball, and that's really the key issue. Sometimes people disagree with the rule, but a lot of the time, the officials have it correct. So we have to get that where it's consistently done and it's consistently understood."

Thrash, with 290 catches over the 12 seasons, was last a receiver in the NFL in 2008 but if the committee wants input from an active receiver it will not have to look far to find it.

Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant, a victim of a reception that was overruled on instant replay in last season's playoffs, has already offered his advice, saying, "They need to call me."