Roger Goodell recently took break from angrily yelling at a picture of Vontaze Burfict he has hanging on his office wall to address the catch controversy,
In case you haven’t been watching the NFL ever, there has always seemed to be a disconnect between what is and is not a catch. Now the NFL has done its very best to get it to the point where we don’t have to worry about the ridiculous push out rule.
Seriously, there use to be a rule where if a receiver was knocked out of bounds, but it looked like he would be able to get two feet in, then they would call it a catch. Now, expecting a league that had that rule to have a clear definition of what a catch is pretty optimistic.
Still, Goodell crawled out of his hole where he keeps his wheel of random suspensions to address this controversy, and boy did it has some substance.
“I’m not just somewhat concerned [about the rule],” Goodell said in an interview with FS1’s “The Herd with Colin Cowherd.” “I am concerned.”
"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 does hit the source of this controversy on the head when he mentions “It is particularly in going to the ground that I think has created a lot of the confusion.”
That is actually right. I would say a majority of fans get the rules of a catch on the field and along the sideline, because they have mostly black and white rules. You need to get two feet in bounds. The only grey area come in when you talk about making a football move, but refs have done a good job with that rule as of late.
This issue came up when the Steelers lost to the Patriots. It appeared Pittsburgh scored a touchdown as their tight end caught the pass while falling into the endzone, but upon further review it appeared the ball wasn’t secured as the tight end hit the ground.
Honestly, the ruling was a bit shocking. I remember seeing the play in real time and couldn’t believe they overturned it. It didn’t seem like there was enough evidence.
It is one thing to be concerned, but how can the NFL fix that problem, and will it actually be considered by the competition committee? Falcons president Rich McKay spoke with Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio about that.
“Will it be talked about?” McKay told Florio. “Absolutely, because again every year we’re going to have six to eight plays as replay becomes more and more a part of our lives because, quite frankly, technology just gets better and better. Then all of a sudden the scrutiny applied to a play like that gets even higher. Yes, you need to go back and you need to make sure — our rules forever have been written for on-field officiating and trying to make sure that we put the officials in a place on the field where they can officiate and be consistent in their officiating.”
“Sometimes, it gets a little inconsistent when you then begin to review them in replay at frame-by-frame in what looks like a simple decision by an on-field official,” McKay said. “It’s not quite so simple when it’s at full speed. I think we just need to make sure the way we look at it in replay and the way we’re telling the on-field official to officiate are consistent. Maybe that requires us to discuss the language, which we have many times before. I think Commissioner Goodell has done a great job in the last five years on this topic. I’ve been to New York twice where we’ve had a bunch of people including former receivers and former head coaches — just a bunch of different people that go in there and watch a series of plays and say, ‘OK, let’s talk ourselves through this rule and talk through do you want to change it do you like it do you not like it?’ We really haven’t done major changes to it. We’ve done a lot of tweaks to it. We’ll probably do that same process this year.”
It seems like the NFL will likely make some changes, and we will see exactly what that means for next season. Bringing in former players and coaches means this will likely end up being good for the game and speed things up. If Goodell fixes this it’d be a great PR move for him. Until he screws up again.
It still won’t get Tyler Eifert this touchdown catch back. This one was extra confusing back in 2015. Eifert wasn’t really going to the ground. He caught the pass, turned around and stuck the ball over the goal line. Then the defender kicks the ball out.
That would be like saying a running back has to hold onto the ball after crossing the goal line even if he is diving along the pylon, and if he lets go of the ball no touchdown. It doesn’t make sense. Neither does the rule as it is currently constructed.