Blog Entry

New rule could make for longer games in 2011

Posted on: July 18, 2011 8:38 pm
Edited on: July 18, 2011 9:46 pm
 
Posted by Ryan Wilson

Every offseason, the NFL's competition committee convenes to discuss which rules to add, modify or scrap altogether. Mike Pereira, the former NFL Vice President of Officiating who now works for Fox Sports, writes Monday that in anticipation of the 2011 season, 121 NFL officials just completed a three-day clinic in Dallas where, among other things, they were apprised of the rules changes.

Some new rules were met with outspoken criticism (unsurprisingly, James Harrison took the lead on that), although the most controversial decision had to be the one that resulted in no change at all.

Last season, Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson had a touchdown overturned against division rival Chicago after it was determined that he hadn't met all the criteria for what the NFL considered a legal catch. Crazy us, we just thought it involved, you know, catching the ball in the end zone.

If you can stand it, here's the play in question: 



No matter how many times we watch that replay, we always expect it to be ruled a touchdown since it looks ... just like a touchdown.

Pereira explains why, in fact, the pass thrown to Johnson is still considered incomplete.

"There were no substantial changes to the catch rule. There are three elements to a catch when going to the ground. First, you must get total control. Second, you must get both feet or another body part down. Third, and the trickiest, you must maintain control throughout the entire process of going to and hitting the ground. The ground can cause an incompletion in the field of play or end zone. The competition committee affirmed that the pass to Johnson was incomplete as the ball came out of his control when it hit the ground. He completed the first two elements of the catch but not the third."

This will placate almost certainly no one, but to quote every coach or athlete to ever talk to the media, "It is what it is." Moving on...

A rules change everyone can get behind: every scoring play will automatically be reviewed. The goal is to reduce missed calls and save coaches from wasting challenges, but Pereira notes that there will be unintended consequences, too. "There will be a lot more replay stoppages in 2011, and the length of games will increase. Neither of those is good for the game."

On this last point we can all agree. Presumably, even James Harrison.

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Comments

Since: Apr 8, 2010
Posted on: July 19, 2011 12:37 pm
 

New rule could make for longer games in 2011

However if you look at his left hand it appears to be out of bounds before he lets the ball go so that should be the "third element".



Since: Aug 28, 2006
Posted on: July 19, 2011 12:28 pm
 

New rule could make for longer games in 2011

"If a WR is lunging for the end zone and breaks the plain - TD, even if he fumbles the ball a split second after it breaks the plain still a TD.  But when you catch it, have possession and two feet down... no catch???  Stupid rule."

what you're missing is before the ball crosses the endzone... there was complete control of the ball prior to it breaking the line. If you're running and bobbling the ball before you get in the endzone, and cross the plane, and drop the ball.. it is not a touch down. Where when you catch the ball...   it hasnt been deemed "in control" untill.. well you have control.  If you catch the ball and have control and then drop it a second later.. its still a touchedown.... You're arguement holds no merit what so ever...



Since: Oct 16, 2007
Posted on: July 19, 2011 12:22 pm
 

New rule could make for longer games in 2011

These rule changes always have inintended consequences; just thought I would point one out with the new replay rule.

From what I have seen, only scoring plays will be automatically reviewed. So, I am guessing that this means if an official rules a runner down at the 1 foot line, this will not be considered a scoring play, and the team will have to use a challenge if they think a TD was scored.

This will likely lead to a scenerio where officials err on the side of calling the TD, which could make for some interesting reversals at critical times of the game.  



Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: July 19, 2011 9:55 am
 

New rule could make for longer games in 2011

If a WR is lunging for the end zone and breaks the plain - TD, even if he fumbles the ball a split second after it breaks the plain still a TD.  But when you catch it, have possession and two feet down... no catch???  Stupid rule.

That's my problem with the rule, exactly what you just pointed out.  What you said above is 100 percent true but at the same time it doesn't make any sense to me.  Yes, according to NFL rules Johnson's play wasn't a td... but how stupid is that?  That was a great play and any rule that prevents that play from being called a td needs to go.  And not just for Calvin, but for any other wide reciever or NFL team out there that finds themselves in a similar situation.



Since: Mar 30, 2011
Posted on: July 19, 2011 9:48 am
 

New rule could make for longer games in 2011

Is this replay after scores going to take place before the extra point if it is a touchdown? I know the typical replay rule is that a play cannot be overturned if the following play has began; but seen as most of the time there seems to be a commercial break following a touchdown anyways, if the league made a small tweak to allow the mandatory replay to occur following the extra-point as opposed to in between the touchdown and extra point it would erase the issue of more stoppages and longer games, because the replay can be done during a commercial that would stop the game anyways. To me it doesn't seem like as much of an issue to have a break in play as it would be to see touchdowns rewarded that should not be because a team is out of challenges or does not challenge fast enough.

As for the Calvin Johnson ruling; I know it looks like a catch, and I was disappointed it was called an incomplete pass on the field; however, I really don't know how they could change the rule without introducing a grey area. The rule is nice and concrete, and while certain plays such as this touchdown may draw the ruling into question, the introduction of a grey area would lead to more frequent controversy over calls. Remember the old rule that stated if a receiver was pushed out of bounds by a defender while he was in the air to make a catch, it would be ruled a completion if the officials determined that the receiver would have got his feet in bounds if no contact was made? That is a prime example of a rule with grey area that leads to poor calls and controversy. By eliminating grey area, the players and officials both know what is expected 100% of the time.




Since: Aug 23, 2006
Posted on: July 19, 2011 8:48 am
 

New rule could make for longer games in 2011

If a WR is lunging for the end zone and breaks the plain - TD, even if he fumbles the ball a split second after it breaks the plain still a TD.  But when you catch it, have possession and two feet down... no catch???  Stupid rule.




Since: Jun 22, 2011
Posted on: July 19, 2011 6:58 am
 

New rule could make for longer games in 2011

I thought that I was done hearing bout that damn non-catch catch! Rules are rules...incomplete...lions lose!!!  Then again if it was a white reciever it would of been a touchdown...right Harrison?



Since: Feb 7, 2008
Posted on: July 19, 2011 6:41 am
 

New rule could make for longer games in 2011

I've now seen this play approximately 50 times.....and it is a touchdown 50 times.

That's funny, because every time I've watched that same catch, and from every angle, the ball leaves his hand whenever he goes to the ground.  Receivers essentially have only a few rules concerning how they make a catch once a play starts: don't push off, land with both feet in bounds, and MAINTAIN CONTROL THROUGH CONTACT WITH THE GROUND.  He obviously didn't do his job, so no one should complain when he rightfully isn't rewarded for his error.



Since: Dec 18, 2006
Posted on: July 18, 2011 11:51 pm
 

New rule could make for longer games in 2011

I like this rule where the replay officials in the booth will look at at every scoring play, this way no teams or fans will be crying when they lose to the Colts, lol. Plus it will be more fair to the coaches of not having to use their challenge if the play is 50/50. This also gives us fans more time to take a leak, get the beer, or take a toke, so I don't understand why some fans wouldn't like this rule change.


Go COLTS !!!! 



Since: Oct 21, 2009
Posted on: July 18, 2011 10:51 pm
 

New rule could make for longer games in 2011

cnyfan you are completely correct


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