The NFL's catch rule is likely to change once again this offseason. The league's competition committee has been discussing potential changes to the rule, and on Wednesday, NFL senior vice president of officiating Al Riveron announced the changes the committee will be recommending at the annual meeting next week.
If the committee's recommendation is adopted, a catch will be defined in the following way:
Riveron said on Monday that the league looked at the following plays (among others) in order to help determine what the new definition of a catch should be:
Over the past several days, the @NFL Competition Committee has been reviewing the process of a catch. The first two elements are control and two feet down. Additional elements are also under consideration. Here are a few of the plays we are looking at. pic.twitter.com/Ny3xs3vfst— Al Riveron (@alriveron) March 19, 2018
The new rule is unlikely to provide solace for fans of, say, the Lions, Cowboys, and Steelers, who have suffered from controversial interpretations of the catch rule on big stages over the last few years. (The league reportedly wanted to make sure plays like the overturned catches by Calvin Johnson, Dez Bryant, and Jesse James are counted as completed passes in the future.)
Any change to make the catch rule simpler, though, is sure to be welcomed by players, coaches, executives, and fans. The catch here is that those groups will be satisfied only if the new rule is applied consistently across the league, which has been an issue over the last several seasons.