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NFL owners approve change to catch rule

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The NFL has officially approved new rules that will overhaul how a catch is defined.

The definition of a catch has long been argued with several instances of conflicting interpretations through the years.

Fans, players and now owners have called for a change to the catch rule, specifically to simplify the definition.

NFL owners voted 32-0 to approve the new rules set to take effect next season.

Under the new rules, establishing a catch will require control, two feet (or another body part) in bounds and a football move. The ground element no longer applies.

The committee examined plays back to the 1990s and early 2000s, including a pass to the Jets' Wayne Chrebet in which McKay said the film was "so grainy you could barely make it out." He mentioned Bert Emanuel's non-reception in the 1999 NFC title game when the tip of the ball touched the ground even though Emanuel had it in his clutches.

The major emphasis on re-examining the rule stems from Bryant's non-catch in a playoff game at Green Bay. Reconstructing that play through video, Riveron explained how the proposed change will seize logic — in other words, make what should have been a catch into a real catch.

"I think the Dez Bryant was the start of us realizing something needs to change," McKay said.

Each year, there have been similar examples that made everyone from the guys throwing the ball to the coaches on the sideline to the fans in the stands and on their mobile devices wondering what was going on. When James' apparent winning touchdown reception against New England was overturned even though the Steelers tight end made a football move to extend the ball over the goal line, it prompted Commissioner Roger Goodell to forcefully endorse seeking adjustments to the rule.

So, a receiver must:

—have control of the ball;

—get two feet down or another body part;

—make a football move: taking a third step or extending the ball or something similar.


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