The 2018 NFL season is officially underway!
The NFL has always adapted and implemented new rules for various reasons. Originally, football games were 70 minutes long. New rules made during President Theodore Roosevelt’s time in office shortened the games by 10 minutes.
When it comes to developing and implementing new rules, the NFL Competition Committee works alongside coaches, general managers, owners, the NFL Players Association, medical personnel, and the media. Additionally, the Committee asks several questions about each potential rule change:
- Does the change improve the game?
- How will it be officiated?
- How will it be coached?
- How can the player play by the rule?
For the last few years, everyone thought they knew what a catch was. Turns out, no one actually knew. Since instant reply technology allows officials to look under a microscope and zoom in on every inch of the field, catches that looked 100% like catches actually turned out to not be catches. It was a disaster.
Some of the more high-profile instances of the catch issue involved Dez Bryant in the playoffs and Calvin Johnson on Thanksgiving. Games have been lost due to these complicated rulings and seasons have been ruined. Thankfully, the NFL is at least attempting to change and improve a few rules, specifically the catching issue.
Here is what you need to know about the NFL’s new catch rule:
The new catch rule
The league has finally changed the standard for a catch for a forward pass (or interception) in the field of play, on the sideline, or in the end zone. A catch is considered valid if:
- A: player secures control of the ball in his hands or arms, prior to the ball touching the ground;
- B: touches the ground inbounds with both feet or with any;
- C: after (a) and (b) have been fulfilled, performs any football act, or he maintains control of the ball long enough to do so.
Keep in mind, movement of the ball does not automatically result in lost control. Also, if a player who is in possession of the ball is held up and carried out of bounds before any part of his body (other than his hands) touches the ground, it is considered a catch.
Unlike the soccer World Cup, which is only played every four years, the Super Bowl is an annual occurrence, meaning this rule will have a very real impact on American fans this very Sunday.