NFL teams unanimously vote to implement new catch rule

Shutdown Corner

You knew the Dallas Cowboys were going to vote for a new catch rule. The Pittsburgh Steelers too. And the Detroit Lions. Heck, every team by now probably has some sob story about how the old catch rule cost them a game.

Hopefully Tuesday’s decision by NFL teams will be the end of the catch rule madness. Teams voted 32-0 to implement a new, simplified catch rule according to numerous reports from the league meetings. As we’ve found out in recent days, controversial and infamous rulings that went against Dez Bryant, Jesse James and Calvin Johnson would have been catches under the new rule. That’s good for the game. It got exhausting after a while as the catch rule was overshadowing great games. You’ll hopefully never have to hear “survive the ground” during an NFL game again.

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The change has been in the works for a while, and the language is much easier to grasp. Basically, if a player has control, two feet down and makes a football move like a third step or reaching for extra yards or the end zone, it’s a catch. Isn’t that what everyone wanted in the first place?

You’ll never remove the controversy associated with officiating calls, because it’s 2018 and people like complaining. Also, you’re just giving officials a different interpretation of a catch to implement. It’s still going to be, in some instances, a judgment call. But what the rule should do is lead to more decisions on the side of players getting credit for a catch. At the end of the day, as Roger Goodell said Super Bowl week, fans want more catches and not more incompletions. That will be a good tradeoff for most people. There will still be controversial plays, but at least plays that look like a catch will be called a catch more often than not.

It probably took the league too long to overhaul the catch rule, which has been a nuisance for years now. But at least they finally made the change. None of the owners voting on it Tuesday were going to argue.

Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Jesse James’ catch against the Patriots was reversed, and that led to a rule change. (AP)
Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Jesse James’ catch against the Patriots was reversed, and that led to a rule change. (AP)

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Frank Schwab is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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