The NFL's catch rules suck. It's time to change them.

SB Nation
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Calvin Johnson and Dez Bryant are only the biggest names to be screwed over by the NFL's needlessly complex catch rules. With too many plays being overturned in the face of common sense, it's time for the NFL VP of Officiating Dean Blandino to throw the present rules away and start all over with something simpler: a catch is a catch.
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Comments 80
EebstertheGreat 6 days ago
It's interesting that if a part of the leg other than the foot touches the ground, that's enough for a complete pass. So if a player is in the middle of a running catch with one foot on the ground, and the other foot is about to go out of bounds, he could theoretically complete the pass by rolling his ankle.
Dave Strider
Dave Strider 14 days ago
Frankly I agree with the NFL on the first three of these. Think about these as if this was backyard football. Ask yourself if someone dropped the ball half a second after they “caught” it would or should be ruled.
Sarah Kiara
Sarah Kiara 18 days ago
5:52 When the presenter changes their tone of voice and says "BUT FIRST" and you get ready to skip an ad but then it's not an ad
nomax 20 days ago
wouldnt clarifying the rule lead to benefit the offense ? isnt that what they want anyway ?
Leaf Finite
Leaf Finite 2 months ago
Its cringey when you make fun of people based solely off the their photo.
johnny1893 2 months ago
Just take the CFL rules A catch is a catch.
AdamOrnelles 2 months ago
Yelling at a camera in an empty room pretending like Stephen A Smith is with him.
Skiles 3 months ago
Well I, for one, believe that our esteemed NFL officials have never gotten a call wrong. There's one simple reason behind that; if the refs say it happened or didn't happen, then they're correct every time.
fayez alhamoy
fayez alhamoy 4 months ago
A game played by passing the ball by hand and called FOOTBALL, this is the real crime 😂
swthero 5 months ago
National Fuckup League !!!!!!
S P 6 months ago
How about a guy catches the ball and holds onto it after he hits the grass?? anything else incomplete. Circus catches are cool, but once a Receiver pulls one off they become the most pretentious guys on the field. Just catch the damn ball.
Chongo Ok
Chongo Ok 6 months ago
Weird rules?
Seth Weigand
Seth Weigand 6 months ago
One of the worst SB Nation videos. They make no suggestions on what his opinion on a catch actually is!
cim888 7 months ago
Aug 2019 nearly 4 years after this video.. fixed yet?
Iselder 8 months ago
Wow lions bears are subject of 2 of these
mountaineers79 9 months ago
College rules>No Fun League rules
Tom 10 months ago
I would simply scrap catch rules, and let Refs use common sense each time. If it looks like a catch then it's a catch.
J.N.J. 704
J.N.J. 704 10 months ago
A catch should be if the player makes a football move (reaching the ball out or going to tucking the football with the palm of the hand counts). If the player catches the ball then has in the 2 feet field of play before anything touches out of bounce, it will count as a catch. If the player hasn’t successfully caught the ball before the ball touches the grass or the player goes out side the playing field, then it should be counted as incomplete. If the ball will still be alive until the ball touches the grass or anything out of bounce. If a player has caught the ball, but then loses of the ball it should count as a fumble. If the player 2 feet or the ball it’s self is in their end zone and has made the catch, it will automatically count as a TD even if the player loses the ball immediately after. 1) Teams may use a challenge the call if the is incomplete or completed. Replays will be shown in full speed unless the ref needs to see if a player feet touched the ground, if the ball ever touched the ground, when the player palm touches the ball, or where to spot the ball at. Refs may not slow the replay down to see if a player does a football move. If it is a catch the the spot of the ball with be at where the ball was when the play was ruled dead. Refs are allowed to change the game clock if the ruling is changed. 2) Teams may also challenge if a touchdown was made or not. (Note that all TDs will be viewed before the extra point attempt). In this case the replay maybe slowdown to see if the ball ever crosses the plain. If the ball doesn’t cross the plain no TDs will be awarded. If the ball crosses the plain and is caught, a TD will be awarded to the team only if the points haven’t been awarded already. Refs may change the game clock and spot the ball when the play ended at if needed.
J.N.J. 704
J.N.J. 704 10 months ago
To summarize If a player has 2 feet in bounce and has 1 or 2 palms on the ball.
Ian Peer
Ian Peer 11 months ago
This guy annoying
BrazenBullXXX Year ago
Two hands on the ball and breaks the plane: Touchdown Two hands on the ball and two feet in: Touchdown How is this so difficult?
biratebryan Year ago
Cotchery caught that pass.
MoneyBoyVince 1
Liked by :NFL
Da Rikster
Da Rikster Year ago
Couple seasons later, jesse James happens
Broken Wave
Broken Wave Year ago
Almost everything you said was nonsense. Its got that complicated. Also...catching the ball isn't one of the simpliest things in the game by any means.
Broken Wave
Broken Wave Year ago
Calvin should have either A. Not fallen. Or B. Maintained control through the fall. But he fell, the ball touched the ground, and the light touch was enough for him to let go...therefore he didn't maintain possession. And whether he went to the ground on purpose or let go on purpose are both moot points.
max Payne
max Payne Year ago
This stupid rule has got to go back to ball in the hands 2 feet or one of any other body part touches the ground it's catch. Making a "football Move" and the even more stupid "surviving the ground" rules have got to go. What the H does surviving the ground even mean?
LeoMDK Year ago
0:30 "he lets go to celebrate a catch" ... no ... the ball was clearly knocked out of his hand by the ground. The rule is bad enough. There's no need to make things up.
Des McMahon
Des McMahon Year ago
Just copy and paste the college football rules
lee bowden
lee bowden Year ago
Just make it like rugby they have to touch the ball down
Learning Makes Me Happy
Why do they keep giving this kid speaking positions. His voice is graaattiiiing
Fenrir Unshackled
The catch rule should be: A player gains control of the ball and has ANY part of their body touching the field of play.
john wilson
john wilson Year ago
TATE crossed the goal line as a runner and got stripped in the end zone i think thats a Touch down
Patrick Year ago
Well the rule just got changed and hopefully that will work. I believe it will
BCrow Year ago
Dez didn't catch it, no matter how much you piss and whine. lmaaoooooooo
Hunter Hogan
Hunter Hogan Year ago
Meh. Fans and players can merely say, "This should change," but a commentator must say something more intelligent than "wrong" and "garbage." Write something better than the rules written by the NFL because, in this video, you sound like a whiny brat.
Quinn Price
Quinn Price Year ago
I was listening to the Packers radio network when they over-turned the Des Bryant catch ... even THEY were shocked!
Josh Year ago
I think you should have to play football before you can talk about it... you’re built like a girl dude
Is This Rain?
Is This Rain? Year ago
Were those remarks about Blandino really necessary though?
Drew Sabo
Drew Sabo Year ago
METO U Year ago
because pro sports are scripted... that the catch definition is not clear and is left open to interpretation... so the NFL... with the help from some employees of the NFL...the refs... can have a way to get their desired results... it allows them to control spreads and the winners and losers...the rule is a safety net for the NFL
mili-nium-etal Silver sliver
Yup. Or why not ground the ball in the end zone like rugby with the way things are going. Seriously I can't even stand to watch a full game anymore. Too much politics and not enough fun.
Shaun Thompson
Like goalie interference in the NHL. Not even veteran refs know what is and isn’t goalie interference anymore.
Hyde Year ago
You could solve the whole thing by making it a judgement call on the part of the official(s). Whether replay is needed or not. If they look at the play (or replay) and say it's a catch, then it's a catch.
GroundHOG2010 Year ago
Potental idea for codifying a catch: a) Secures the ball with hands or arms prior to or while touching the ground b) Touches the ground while maintaining sole control of the ball c) Must maintain control of or within sole range (range where you can grab it and no other player could) of the ball once the play is complete, while the ball must also be in the theater of play. Defining when the play is complete, say for touchdown it is sole control in the endzone while touching the ground, would be needed. For the 3 given examples, Calvin Johnson had secured the ball while in the air, he ended up with sole control of the ball, and the play was completed with the ball under control of him. Dez Bryant maintained sole control throughout the play (and secured the ball), and ultimately by the time he is fully down the ball, if not under control of him, is within sole range of him. Goldon Tate's play ultimately was that he never secured sole control of the ball while on the ground, thus is an interception.
Mystic Thunder
Is it just me, or doe the NCAA have better catch rules than the NFL?
Antonnacio Clarke
Tbh if the nfl wants to learn what a catch is I recommend they look into the cricket rule book, since you dickheads (nfl) can’t decide.
Roddy Evans
Roddy Evans 2 years ago
I don't even watch sports but I'll watch anything on this channel. Learning about once in a lifetime shots or ridiculous rules is fun and you guys consistently make good content. Keep up the good work SB Nation, specially you Jon Bois!
BradGibbs 1984
BradGibbs 1984 2 years ago
F*** those catch rules that NFL makes 🆙. The upper management needs to be replaced in order to eliminate that rule. #AbolishTheCatchRule
TheShot Doctorr
TheShot Doctorr 2 years ago
Steelers vs Patriots...
Brem 2 years ago
Catching a ball in the end zone should have different rules than catching in play.
Sid N
Sid N 2 years ago
The nfl is a joke anymore, its not rocket science yall. Where is bill walsh when you need him.
Vilhelm Hammershoi
Vilhelm Hammershoi 2 years ago
Exactly. They take away brilliant catches to favour whoever las vegas dictates will pay more. The only reason to muddle the rules is to have more power over determining who wins the game. Soon a run won't be a run unless..... (fill in the blank). goodell and blandino serve the odd makers not the sport.
Wes Hernandez
Wes Hernandez 2 years ago
The NFL has rules like this to create loopholes so officials can effect the outcome of games.
Sid N
Sid N 2 years ago
Wes Hernandez . definitely my brother the nfl today is not the nfl of my youth which is a bad thing. The nfl is about ratings and money meaning they dont want the jags vs titans for example in the super bowl.
Wes Hernandez
Wes Hernandez 2 years ago
Sid N id never say the NFL is out right fixed but there’s definitely some collusion
Sid N
Sid N 2 years ago
Wes Hernandez . exactly. To much money has ruined the integrity and simpleness that is a game.
Fine Wine Daily
Fine Wine Daily 2 years ago
The rule is fine. You have to survive the hit with the ground for it to qualify as a catch. If they didn't have this rule you would have hundreds of extra fumbles from players dropping balls when they hit the ground or get hit by a player right after catching the ball.
Darryl Jones
Darryl Jones 2 years ago
I know this is an old video. I have been trying to get the NFL's attention since I saw the rules change to the ridiculous notion that a receiver has to do something besides catch the ball inbounds in order for it to be considered a catch(2011). The receiver no longer exists after he has possession. This is verified by the definition of RUNNER- the player who has possession of the ball; and the definition of Player Possession- A player is in possession when he is inbounds and has a firm grip and control of the ball with his hands or arms. Showing that he is a runner is not possible until HE IS the runner, that is when he has possession. This is because the rules change for this player when he becomes the runner. And remember PLAYER POSSESSION began when some idiot kept using his hands, catching the round ball or picking it up off the ground(in the 1830's). Advancing, the ball or doing anything but touching it with the hands is not the issue that led to the rules changes that led to Rugby, then American Football. Advancement happens with the ball on the ground if player possession was never allowed(Soccer). Tucking the ball away CANNOT happen without possession. Why is a successful hand-off still considered possession by the running back if he doesn't take 3 steps, or advance the ball? Why is a pass that is caught with the knees on the ground and in contact with the defender considered a CATCH since that player has no chance of satisfying the third portion of the catch rule? Why does any player who has control of the ball in a pile-up have possession when he has no chance to satisfy those same words in the Possession of a Loose Ball rule/definition? How on any planet in this universe does the Sideline Catch rule make any sense? The player only has possession after he is determined to be OUT OF BOUNDS? Yes, this is the intent of this ridiculous rule. NO CATCH IS COMPLETED OUT OF BOUNDS. ALL RULES STATE THAT THE PLAYER MUST BE INBOUNDS IN ORDER TO ESTABLISH POSSESSION. This was completely understood in the 1960's, 1970's, 1980's, and 1990's. Player Possession has NEVER changed, yet a ridiculous non-requirement has been added that has NOTHING to do with possession, in fact, it cannot be done until possession is established, making it a POST-possession non-requirement. NOTICE THE NULIFICATION OF THIS REQUIREMENT LISTED JUST BELOW IT, IN THIS VIDEO.
Darryl Jones
Darryl Jones 2 years ago
No, the Calvin Johnson play was overturned on the field BEFORE the replay. The replay result was a confirmation of the changed call on the field. This is important to know because Gene Steratore decided to ignore the rule book and make up his own rules. The rules written in the rule book in 2010 supported Johnson's catch. But the rules were ignored on that play.
Gibster 2 years ago
I really can't stand how so many people are confused by this rule. Perhaps if you watched more than the highlights at the end of the week you'd know the difference.
Gibster 2 years ago
A catch is rather simple. Every single time I've seen a pass reviewed I've called it and gotten the same answer the refs conclude after a review. If you are falling you cannot be considered a runner. Look at the exact moment Dez firmly holds the ball, he manages one step proceeds to continue to fall and the ground cause him to lose the ball. Calvin Johnson same thing at no point did he even begin to pull the ball to him he only has one hand on it and loses it before getting up off of the ground. Look we have the technology to review a play, why not have plays reviewed. The funny part is no one can come up with a different rule that fits every situation. Growing up, my coach taught me to catch the ball and pull it into my body. That is how you complete a pass. But when it comes to officiating it needs to cover situations where receivers complete a pass and get tackled or are taking to the ground before he's been able to have a chance to get more yards. So there are your 2 catches
Roamy Camilo
Roamy Camilo 2 years ago
And to this day, still terrible.
Joshua Frick
Joshua Frick 2 years ago
Jr Habecker
Jr Habecker 2 years ago
Dez, Johnson and James all were catches hands down...
Jr Habecker
Jr Habecker 2 years ago
Im 31yrs old Ive been watching football since I was 10yrs old and I can honestly say I have no clue what a catch is anymore...
Eric Medeiros
Eric Medeiros 2 years ago
Why all this confusion? NFL wake the hell up , have you all bin asleep. It's so simple. Catch and possession is control and two feet down , or knee hip ect. Unless you break the goal line. Which makes it a touchdown. If the goalline is broke you can drop the dam ball at that point.Hey NFL you don't have to run, jump, stiff arm or anything else to show possession.
Patrick Meeks
Patrick Meeks 2 years ago
It’s 2018. We still have no idea what a catch is
Thor Theimpaler
Thor Theimpaler 2 years ago
So the Eagles got away with two touchdowns in the SB according to the catch rule.
Michael Valente
Michael Valente 2 years ago
Jesse James 🙄🙄
StarTropicsKing 2 years ago
Who’s here after Super Bowl LII?
Mot Smada
Mot Smada 2 years ago
A catch should merely be control of ball for 2/5 sec. That's twice as long as it takes for a house fly to react to a stimulus!
Unknown Unknowingly
They got Calvin Johnson so often he retired.
Jalen Daniels
Jalen Daniels 2 years ago
Crazy how a group of "smart" people can all sit a table and continuously not get this right. It's embarrassing actually.
Cornelius Dillinger jr
You guys do know that the rule books were written like this for betting right?! Think about it a lot of these games come down to particular place and if the rulebook is not understandable or easily misinterpreted then the officials can just call what they want and then when people try to fall back on the rulebook they either can't understand it or it doesn't make sense so then whatever the officials call stands and then the suits can push the winner they want!!!
Clutxh Time
Clutxh Time 2 years ago
the golden tate one was not a catch
Kevin Penfold
Kevin Penfold 2 years ago
Am I the only one that thinks the catch rule makes perfect sense the way it is, and that “let a catch be a catch” makes no sense at all?
J D 2 years ago
This was 2 years ago.... And this year we get the Steelers Pats Game....
SR71BBFLYER 2 years ago
This is what happens when you take control from refs and give it to boardroom suits.
Stephen Malacaria
Stephen Malacaria 2 years ago
Alrighty then man, you do it. Write a catching rule to define what constitutes a legal catch. You're just saying the current rule is bad but you have no suggestions for how to make it better other than "uhh just say a catch is a catch." Because that's totally gonna work, right?
Stephen Malacaria
Stephen Malacaria 2 years ago
Hold on. The issue is that "there's too much gray area" so the solution is to just say "a catch is a catch?" That makes no sense. If they're going to be examining catches closely on instant replay, there needs to be criteria that they look for, and I think overall the current rules do as good a job as is possible defining that criteria.
Brad Kirsch
Brad Kirsch 2 years ago
Here's the thing. Before this rule, every week it was impossible to have ANY consistency with the referee's judgement. What was ruled a catch depended on the phase of the moon and the ref's wife's menstrual cycle. And people were SCREAMING to fix it. Now they've taken it out of the ref's hands and you're still SCREAMING. You got 2 choices. Either every ref makes his own judgement about what is a catch. Or you got one weird rule that takes the all judgement out, but is not perfect. Either way y'all will still be SCREAMING next week, next month, next year. GLTY
trufiend138 2 years ago
To rule Dez's play catch all the ref needed to do was say he clearly has possession of the ball (two feet, positions ball into pit of arm) and then stretchers forward, at that point he is runner. Instead they revised the rule which was ok (I say that because I'm ok with the logic of a "football move") by removing "football move" and now it's logic is circular.
pickedupapencil 2 years ago
"A catch is a catch?" Really? You then have to define a catch, and guess what, you're still in that same place.
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