Gordon: Changes to Catch Rule Can’t Save Football

Gordon: Changes to Catch Rule Can’t Save Football

by March 27, 2018 0 comments

The NFL offseason is in full swing and with it comes the annual owners meeting where representatives from the league revise and or add rules to arguably the most popular team sport in America.

What is a catch? A question NFL fans asked during the season all the way until now, has been solved.

The “surviving the ground” element of the catch has been eliminated and according to NFL.com, anything is deemed a catch if any of these following events take place during the beginning of the receiver’s possession of the ball.

The new rules defining a catch include:

1. Control of the ball. 
2. Two feet down or another body part. 
3. A football move such as: 
» A third step; 
» Reaching/extending for the line-to-gain; 
» Or the ability to perform such an act.

Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys fans should be happy with this ruling. Rightfully so as their teams were indeed robbed from a victory because of an overly-complex rule.

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Video Credits: CBS Sports/National Football League

The challenges and the overturning of great plays because of a few ridiculous technicalities took away from the games joy as it wasn’t the receiver and quarterback that decided the game, but the officials and their tablets.

It turned a simple addition problem of a rule into a big giant quadratic equation that casual fans watching the game probably wouldn’t understand.

Watching the Jesse James play over and over again with my uncle during the Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots regular season matchup made it seem even more cut and dry. “Broke the plane, you’re in and that’s the end of it.”

But the ruling came out and as the air left the room, so did the pureness and the simplicity of the game. My uncle who had been watching football ever since the 1960’s was not just upset at the ruling, but how the league had made the game into a contest not decided by one team or the other, but by the referees.

Going back to the decisions made by the referees during the “tuck rule game” between the Patriots and Oakland Raiders. In a cut and dry essence, quarterback Tom Brady fumbled the ball when Charles Woodson hit him. The Raiders absolutely should have won that game. But once again the game was not decided by a great play made by a fantastic young cornerback, but by the striped men on the sidelines.


Video Credit: CBS Sports/National Football League


The NFL can correct all the rules it wants but the simple fact of the matter is this. The damage the league did to the game as a result of them overstocking the rulebook has already been done.

The Cowboys should have moved on in the 2015 playoffs, the Raiders should have been playing the Steelers in the 2001 AFC Championship game, and yes the Steelers should’ve had the number one seed in this past postseason.

The only direction you can move is forward and long time fans should hope that the National Football League is finally taking more steps to bringing the game back to its purest form.

But one must understand, this one rule change will not be the last and it definitely will not save the sport from its downward trend if many more rules aren’t simplified.



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