Kudos, NFL. You have really outdone yourself this time.
Just when you thought the NFL could not come up with more words to define a catch, it opened the dictionary to find even more ways to confuse us all. According to this report by Clarence Hill of the Star-Telegram, the NFL insists that the catch that was but wasn’t made by Dez Bryant in the Dallas Cowboys’ playoff loss in Green Bay is still NOT a catch.
Here is a video of that fateful catch.
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Clarence wrote: “The clarification added was that a receiver must "clearly establish himself as a runner" while having control and both feet in bounds. Instead of needing a "football move" to become a runner, the wording emphasizes that the receiver must ‘clearly establish himself as a runner.’
“For years the requirement for a catch is control, both feet and after that the receiver had to have the ball long enough to perform a [football] act,” said Dean Blandino, vice-president of officiating. “It was that act common to the game, football move, that created some confusion.”
All this does is change a few words, create more confusion, and violate the spirit of the play.
He caught the ball. Just like Detroit Lions receiver Calvin Johnson made this catch against the Chicago Bears in Week 1 of the 2010 season:
A catch is possession, two feet down, the end. All this does is add more clauses to the rule, and ignores common sense. If Dez catches the ball, puts his two feet down and then falls out of bounds, he does not have to establish himself as a runner because he is no longer in the field of the play. But this?
The NFL all but guaranteed more plays are going to the review booth, and more controversy. There is common sense, and everybody watching those two plays has agreed the respective receivers caught the football. The rule was enforced correctly in both instances, but it does not mean neither receiver failed to catch the football, or that it is a poorly written rule.
The NFL had the chance to correct and simplify this rule, but instead opted to overturn what is obviously just a sensational catch.
Mac Engel, 817-390-7760