National Football League owners approve new 'catch' rule

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"Whether it was the old rule, or this new rule", James told the Steelers' official website after NFL teams unanimously voted in favor of modifications to the catch rule for the 2018 season at the league's owners meetings in Orlando, Fla.

For years, the National Football League seemingly had no idea what a catch was, requiring players to survive the ground and leaving a major gray area up to the officiating crew's interpretation. I think we've cleaned up a lot of that, and that will get the fans more engrossed in the game.

But on Tuesday afternoon we learned that the new "catch rule" was implemented months before it was passed, particularly during Super Bowl LII. The new rule is an expansion of the previous rule which only penalized contact with the crown of the helmet.

Gone, Riveron emphatically said, is surviving the ground. "In order for us to overturn a call we had to see clearly indisputable evidence".

No matter, the NFL has a simplified catch rule created to eliminate confusion - and, the league hopes, controversy - about receptions.

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"I am very pleased to see the overwhelming support of the coaches, general managers and owners that we want to make the game safer", said Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL's chief medical officer.

While there are other contentious debates still going on, one rule change was a clear priority for the National Football League this week. If the foul is by the defense, it is also an automatic first down. It could result in more players going low at the ball carrier's knees to avoid even the chance of an illegal hit. "If you have movement of the ball but haven't lost control of it, then you still have it". While this has become common practice in the NFL, it is not necessarily a wise move for a football player to dangle the ball out like that.

The vague definition for a catch has led officials to make some controversial calls, possibly the most infamous play coming in a 2014 Divisional Round game in which Dez Bryant makes a play on the ball, but loses control once he hits the ground as he extends for the pylon.

Expect, then, there to be another meeting of the Competition Committee. But if it is, it would go against the competition committee's long-standing opposition to making judgment calls by the on-field officials reviewable by replay. And most importantly, the receivers know what a catch is.

McKay said that it seems players across all levels have become more comfortable using the helmet as a weapon instead of a protective device and that a broad rule was needed to put that into context and we feel this does just that. McKay said the voters weren't there to pass it.