The NFL is Changing It’s Most Controversial Rule

Dez caught that ball

dez 758x455 - The NFL is Changing It's Most Controversial Rule
Jan 11, 2015; Green Bay, WI, USA; Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant (88) is unable to catch a pass against Green Bay Packers cornerback Sam Shields (37) in the fourth quarter in the 2014 NFC Divisional playoff football game at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent said Tuesday that the league is closing in on clarifying its controversial catch rule.

According to Mark Maske of the Washington Post, Vincent said the NFL plans to eliminate two factors that can cause incompletions.

“Slight movement of the ball, it looks like we’ll reverse that,” he said. “Going to the ground, it looks like that’s going to be eliminated. And we’ll go back to the old replay standard of reverse the call on the field only when it’s indisputable.”

Vincent added that the competition committee is looking to finalize its proposal Tuesday before presenting it at next week’s annual league meeting in Orlando, Florida.

Vincent explained the process of determining what should be ruled a catch: “We worked backward. We looked at plays and said: Do you want that to be a catch? And then we applied that to the rule.”

He added that only indisputable video evidence will change the call on the field rather than the previous “clear and obvious” requirement.

NFL Senior Vice President of Officiating Al Riveron further described the process and showed a few plays from 2017 that prompted the league to look into the rule:


Vincent mentioned two infamous non-catches in recent years and said they would be catches under the new rule: “The Dez Bryant play, that’d be a catch. The Jesse James play, that’d be a catch.”

Late in the Dallas Cowboys’ NFC Divisional Round loss to the Green Bay Packers in January 2015, Bryant seemingly caught a pass that would have put Dallas in a goal-to-go situation.

Officials ruled it non-catch since the ball moved when he hit the ground. Dallas lost 26-21.

Last season, Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Jesse James appeared to catch the go-ahead touchdown on 1st-and-goal with 28 seconds remaining in a Week 15 game against the New England Patriots.

James reached the ball over the goal line, but it moved when it hit the ground, which caused the replay official to overturn it.


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