The NFL’s Catch Rule Has Been Updated & It’s More Confusing Than Ever
Tanya Ray Fox 04:59 pm, July 07th, 2016
There is nothing more perplexing in the world of sports than the NFL's inability to offer a clean, easy to grasp definition of what a catch is. The most godforsaken rule in all of sports has taken on a life of its own in recent years, spawning an entire cottage industry of people losing their shit over the amorphous nature of a rule that has changed the course of more than a few important games.
The good news: the NFL is always updating the rulebook to clarify murky rules that have swayed the outcome of games in the past.
The bad news: they still have no goddamned clue what a catch is.
In the photo below, you will see the change to the rule, marked in red type. Go ahead and try it on for size.
Now if you're like me, you already see the glaringly obvious problem with the NFL merely adding more variables to pick apart. How long is long enough? How do you deduce when a players is "capable" of warding off contact? When is the ball officially considered "tucked away?"
Do you see how this has only added more question than answers? I bet you thought it wasn't possible. I did too. We were all such fools!
So yeah, things aren't getting any better in 2016. The NFL's futile attempts to clarify what is and is not a catch have only served to make things more confusing than ever. It's been contended for a while now that the NFL's insistence on defining the catch so specifically is actually the root of the issue. A more broad, common sense application of the rule would be favorable at this point, especially considering the increasing amount of time that referees are expected to spend getting the call right. I can't be the only one who is less than thrilled at the possibility of a bunch of four-hour football games this year.
Sure, the age of instant replay has made it damn near impossible for referees to do their jobs without having minutiae like this new catch rule clause added in to protect them. But when it's all said and done, it's hard to imagine that there's a reasonable excuse as to why the most profitable league on the planet is so incapable of finding a decent balance between modern technology and rational application of rules.
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