It’s no secret the NFL catch rule is overly complicated and sometimes downright confusing. One of the great all-time NFL receivers, Larry Fitzgerald of the Arizona Cardinals, doesn’t think it should be so difficult to determine what constitutes a catch and has an easy fix for the problem.
Via Kalyn Kahler of MMQB, Fitzgerald presented his thoughts on how the NFL catch rule could be simplified:
“If a receiver catches the ball with two feet on the ground and turns to run with it, that should be a catch. If he gets the ball stripped, that should be a fumble.”
Boom. Simple. Easy. Easy to officiate.
Fitzgerald pointed to how, far too often in today’s game, plays that should have resulted in catches are confusingly called incomplete passes and cited a famous example:
“There are too many rules, too much gray area, too many judgments the refs have to make. 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.”
Most of us would agree with the receiver’s take here.
However, the league’s vice president of officiating, Dean Blandino, doesn’t see there being any problem with the way things are now, even though he admits the rule as it is constructed now is always going to be subjective.
This rule, along with a few others (including one that would make two personal fouls in one game an automatic ejection) will be discussed next week at the NFL league meetings.
The NFL catch rule shouldn’t be as complicated as it is. It should not come down to what an official interprets, but rather it should be clearly defined. We’ve seen identical plays go both ways the past few years, which means something is clearly wrong.
Fitzgerald’s solution is easy and practical, and the NFL would be smart to take it into account next week.