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NFL proposes change to catch rule, officiating

The NFL is digging deeper into knowing what a catch is.

There may forever be dissension regarding what a catch is in the NFL, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t trying to change it. League officials told Mark Maske at the Washington Post that they, “worked backward” in trying to modify the rule and subsequent replays confirming or overturning it.

The main change will be regarding provisions of going to the ground; more specifically when a receiver goes to the ground and small movements of the ball in the process. In turn, the league wants to make things simpler and quicker in deciding a catch based on instant replay. From the Washington Post article:

The competition committee, at the behest of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, is seeking a common-sense approach to what should be a relatively straightforward issue of whether or not a receiver makes a legal catch. But that matter has been anything but simple for the NFL, with a series of debate-fueling non-catch replay rulings in recent seasons adding to the ever-mounting confusion.

The replay rulings would be extended to only overturning a catch if indisputable evidence were shown.

What can you expect? Slight movements of the ball are what will be eliminated. Of course this brings up a new question: What is determined a slight movement? It sounds like as long as the ball is in the receiver’s hands, any movement within is negated. According to the NFL, this will simplify things and sharpen the line on what a catch and a non-catch is.

San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman is in favor of the rule change. “I think it gives the referees more clarity,” Sherman said during his introductory press conference to the Bay Area media.

24 of the 32 franchises must approve the rule-change in order for it to take effect, however the teams tend to lean on the competition committee's recommendations. Rodger Goodell has publicly stated how he wants the rule to be changed which puts another point in favor that something is going to be revised.