It's not just you. Even NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is fed up with the always confusing and inconsistent catch rule.
On Monday, Goodell told the "Herd with Colin Cowherd" on FS1 that he's "concerned" about the catch rule and that he hopes they can bring more clarity to it in the offseason. He also admitted that it has turned into a rule that people don't really want, which is something that most fans and players will undoubtedly agree with.
Here's the entirety of Goodell's remarks on the topic:
"I'm not just somewhat concerned. I am concerned.
We just had five Hall-of-Fame receivers and several coaches come in just two weeks ago to focus on the catch-no-catch rule, how we bring clarity -- and this is where the balance comes in, Colin. We've had other examples of this over the years where you want there to be clarity from an officiating standpoint, a coaching, and a player standpoint -- they know what it is, what it isn't. ... I think here you might have clarity in a large element of it, but then what happens is that it's not the rule that people really want.
One of our Hall-of-Fame receivers said it well to me when we looked at this a couple years ago ... 'Fans want catches.' ... We've got some ideas of how to bring some clarity to that, particularly in the going to the ground that I think has created a lot of the confusion because it's a different rule when you're going to the ground when you're on the sideline or in the end zone. I think that's what we're focusing on. The competition committee is going to be bringing this up in February and March.
I hope we'll be able to address this in a way that will bring more clarity and frankly more excitement to this."
You can listen to Goodell say the words for himself below:
"I'm not just somewhat concerned, I am concerned... It's particularly in the going to the ground that I think is creating a lot of the confusion." — NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on the 'Catch Rule' pic.twitter.com/sn9CAqwKUv— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) January 29, 2018
Goodell's obviously not wrong about the lack of clarity in the going-to-the-ground aspect of the catch rule. During this past regular season, instant replay controversially negated what appeared to be in real-time a certain go-ahead touchdown by Steelers tight end Jesse James against the Patriots. The Steelers went on to lose the game, which handed the Patriots home-field advantage -- all because this was ruled incomplete:
I can't stand the #Steelers and I will never stick up for them, BUT unbelievable that the catch by Jesse James is not considered a catch/Touchdown. #NEvsPIT pic.twitter.com/R6cDzMKTg8— (@3lone) December 18, 2017
As our Will Brinson noted at the time, the officials weren't the problem. They correctly applied the catch rule. The problem was the rule itself:
Item 1. Player Going to the Ground. A player is considered to be going to the ground if he does not remain upright long enough to demonstrate that he is clearly a runner. If a player goes to the ground in the act of catching a pass (with or without contact by an opponent), he must maintain control of the ball until after his initial contact with the ground, whether in the field of play or the end zone. If he loses control of the ball, and the ball touches the ground before he regains control, the pass is incomplete. If he regains control prior to the ball touching the ground, the pass is complete.
Based on Goodell's comments above, he wants to see that aspect of the rule changed. If the NFL is able to modify the rule to bring more clarity to it, the league should consider the offseason a resounding success.
A year ago, the NFL made the no-brainer decision to relax the celebration rules and it ended up being a great change for the league. This year, they need to find a way to tweak the catch rule so that fans, players, and coaches can understand what a catch is and isn't while they're watching or taking part in a football game. It really just makes too much sense.