Say goodbye to “surviving the ground.” The NFL officially has a new standard for what constitutes a catch.
In a vote Tuesday at the NFL Annual Meeting, the league’s 32 owners unanimously approved a proposal to revamp the catch rule, which had come under heavy scrutiny in recent years.
The new rule reinstitutes the term “football move,” which had been removed from the definition in 2015.
Here is the official wording, as drafted by the NFL’s competition committee:
Under the new rule, such controversial incompletions as Dez Bryant’s in the 2014 playoffs and Jesse James’ in Week 15 of this past season would have been ruled complete. This change still leaves plenty of room for uncertainty, however, especially in cases where officials must judge a player’s “ability to perform” a football move. It also is likely to result in more fumbles.
The catch rule was one of seven rule/bylaw changes approved by the owners Tuesday morning. Others of note include one that will allow teams to trade players who are on injured reserve and another that will allow a designated official to eject players for “flagrant non-football acts.”
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