One of the most controversial plays in NFL history is at the center of the new catch rule debate

  • The NFL is trying to change its catch rule.
  • The current change the league is considering would have reversed the call on the famous Dez Bryant non-catch.
  • However, making the catch rule better is complicated and difficult.

The NFL competition committee is considering a change to its notoriously convoluted catch rule that would have changed the result of one of the most famous, or infamous, plays in league history, according to a report from ESPN’s Kevin Seifert.

“I think where we are unanimous,” New York Giants owner John Mara told Seifert, “[are] plays like the Dez Bryant play in Green Bay, going to the ground, [and] the Calvin Johnson play from a couple of years ago. I think all of us agree that those should be completions. So let’s write the language to make them completions.”

The Dez Bryant Catch” against the Green Bay Packers in the playoffs is one of the most hotly disputed plays in the recent history of the league, and perhaps the clearest example of just how nebulous the NFL rules for what is or is not a catch are.

Seifert wrote that the NFL has begun reviewing the catch rule at the direction of commissioner Roger Goodell, following another controversial non-catch ruling against Pittsburgh Steelers tight end in a game against the New England Patriots. However, Seifert noted, “Mara said the committee is not in complete agreement on the James play and acknowledged that past efforts to tweak the rule have failed.”

The NFL will try to have a new catch rule ready to propose to the owners at this year’s league meetings in March.

“It’s easy to say the rule has got to be changed, but coming up with the right language is a challenge,” Mara told Seifert.

According to NFL reporter Judy Batista, the competition committee’s most likely recommendation is, ” . . . to eliminate the ‘going to the ground’ element of the rule, which requires players maintain control of the ball all the way through when they hit the ground.”

However, she also cautioned, “Making a catch more definitive is complicated, though, and it has been a source of frustration for years. One member of the committee, when asked a few weeks ago about the prospect of addressing the catch rule, replied simply: ‘Ugh.'”

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