Julius Thomas

The NFL catch rule isn’t complicated at all. That’s the message the NFL would like us to believe, anyway. Those who’ve been watching of late will certainly disagree, as nobody ever knows what the ruling will be when a contested catch goes to instant replay.

However, NFL Vice President of Officiating Dean Blandino made it clear Monday that the league has no intention of changing the rule and likes things the way they are currently set up, via ia Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio:

“He reiterated the rulebook definition of “control, two feet, plus time,” and that if a receiver has yet to become a runner, he must control the ball through contact with the ground (i.e. those who are diving or reaching for the goal line).”

Sounds so easy when stated like that. However, Blandino himself admitted last season that the NFL catch rule is completely subjective, and we’ve seen numerous examples of nearly identical plays being called both ways.



Players cannot stand the way things are set up now, and Larry Fitzgerald believes it’s overly complicated. He recently proposed an easy fix that makes more sense than the league’s interpretation of the rule (read more about that here).

“There are too many rules, too much gray area, too many judgments the refs have to make,” Fitzgerald said, via MMQB. “It needs to be simpler. The Dez Bryant catch against Green Bay should have been a catch. He had the ball and was turning upfield to try to advance the ball. That’s a catch.”

The rule may not seem confusing on paper, but in reality it’s a convoluted mess that needs to be fixed.

Subjectivity shouldn’t be part of the equation. Period.

We all know this, yet the NFL wants us to believe things are just fine the way they are. Imagine that.


Jesse Reed
Managing Editor at Sportsnaut. Featured on Yardbarker and MSN.com, and formerly was a breaking news writer/NFL analyst for Bleacher Report.