The NFL is about to change its most controversial rule — here is what the new catch rule is expected to look like

  • The NFL rules committee is expected to finalise changes to the catch rule this week.
  • The new rule would make three changes that should make most fans happy.
  • NFL owners are expected to vote on the proposed change during the league meetings next week.

The NFL’s most controversial rule is about to get an upgrade, and the changes should make most fans happy.

The NFL’s rulemaking competition committee is expected to finalise changes to the catch rule as early as Tuesday, according to Mark Maske of the Washington Post. The proposed changes would then be presented to the owners for final approval next week during the league’s meetings in Orlando.

Maske spoke with Troy Vincent, the league’s executive vice president of football operations, about the new rule, which appears to include three funadmental changes.

1. Slight movement of the football would now be allowed – Previously, if a football wiggled even the slightest bit, it was considered that the player did not have control.

2. The receiver would no longer be required to maintain control when he hits the ground – The “surviving the ground” standard is going to be eliminated. A catch could be awarded under the new rule if the player establishes control before hitting the ground, even if the ball comes loose after contact with the turf.

3. It would be harder for replay officials to overturn a catch – Under the current system, reply reviews only needed to be “clear and obvious” to be overturned. Under the new rule, the standard would reverse back to the original “indisputable evidence” standard.

“Slight movement of the ball, it looks like we’ll reverse that,” Vincent told the Post. “Going to the ground, it looks like that’s going to be eliminated. And we’ll go back to the old replay standard of reverse the call on the field only when it’s indisputable.”

In other words, the receiver will no longer have to be perfect with every catch, and it sounds like they will receive the benefit of the doubt, where in the past, it felt more like incomplete until proven complete.

So, what about the most famous incompletion of them all, the Dez Bryant “catch” that was ruled incomplete during the 2014 playoffs?

“The Dez Bryant play, that would be a catch [under the new rule],” Vincent said.