It is no secret that the NFL catch rule has elicited great controversy over the last decade. Most recently, NFL owners have agreed on a new catch rule in unison. This is however not the only rule the league owners have approved. The senior vice president of officiating has also been granted powers to overrule referees on the field, if they do not comply with the rules. The VP of officiating Al Riveron has been given powers to also eject players who do not adhere to the football rules. The rule that puts touch backs after kickoffs at the 25 yard line is now no longer temporary.
The new rules were announced through a tweet by the vice president of football communications in the NFL Micheal Signora. Now, there will be no need to control the ball until going to the ground. A catch will be defined by three factors and steps. First, the receiver will control the ball, then, he will perform a football move such as the lunging or taking a third step with the ball still in his hand. The player will also establish himself in the bounds before making the football moves. The NFL's competition committee proposed these rules.
With the above rules in mind, it means that the plays by receiver Calvin Johnson of the Lions in 2010 and Dez Bryant of the Cowboys in 2014 will be considered as valid catches in future. This rule was lauded by players like Jesse James, the tight end for the Steelers. You will remember that James had his catch overturned leading to a miserable loss to New England in December. His catch was invalidated because he did not survive the ground.
The change of rules could boost 49ers odds; among other teams in the league. One thing that all teams are happy about is the clarity of the catch rule. The double standards and selective application of the previous rules was indeed unsettling for many. However, Riveron stated that despite the change of rules, the controversies therein are unlikely to disappear. Former officiating chief Dean Blandino painted a picture in which the new rules could be questioned and make it even harder for the officials to make a call after a replay.
According to Blandino, the questions that might arise include whether a player went down on the ground holding the ball or whether a football move was made. When it comes to the player ejection rule by the NFL officiating office, this was reached upon courtesy of messy incidents in the last season. You will remember the separate incidents involving the Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski and receiver Mike Evans of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The two players mentioned above were fined 15 yards but the referee did not eject them from the field. The referees still have the power to kick out offending players; but a reinforcement of sorts has been put in place. The Jets had proposed to make all the defensive pass interference penalties 15 yards. However, they have since withdrawn that proposal. Three years ago, the Bryant play brought this catch rule conversation to the fore. Thankfully, the necessary review has been done, vindicating Bryant's courageous moves and sparking change in the league.