The NFL owners have spoken.
On Tuesday, at the Annual League Meeting in Florida, all 32 owners voted to approve modifications to the NFL's catch rule for the 2018 season. The catch rule has long been a hotly-debated topic among players and fans, but after a 32-0 unanimous vote there should now be a bit more clarity on the subject.
As recommended by the league's competition committee, the new, simplified rules defining a catch include the following:
1) Control of the football
2) Two feet down or another body part down
3) A football move such as:
— A third step
— Reaching or extending for the line-to-gain
— The ability to perform such an act
One of the key changes to the rule eliminates the "going-to-the-ground" clause that required players to maintain control of the football throughout the process of their body falling and hitting the turf — either on the field of play or out of bounds.
And head coach Sean McVay — who was in favor of the change — believes the new process of defining a catch will help to simplify officiating after over a decade of confusion.
"I think when you talk about where some of the gray has existed, a lot of it is in the semantics of the words," he said Tuesday. "I think that will clear up some of the plays that have become controversial if you will… the Jesse James play [and] everybody wants to make reference to the Dez Bryant catch a couple years ago against Green Bay."
"There's always going to be things that kind of come up in this game — it's such a great game," McVay continued. "But I think this has definitely done a good job of trying to clear that rule up."
But the catch rule is just one of seven different changes approved for the 2018 season. The league owners also voted to approve two other playing-rule changes and four bylaws: