The NFL catch rule needs an overhaul

September 29, 2015 3:03 AM


First, let me start this week by getting something off my chest. The Calvin Johnson-Dez Bryant rule is a travesty. I don’t care about what the officials called on the field, if they reversed it or what the call should have been. The officials are doing their job enforcing the rules, the problem is the rule.

NFL vice president of officiating Mike Pereira’s Twitter explained the rule, as it was adjusted last March because of the debate on Bryant’s catch in last year’s playoff game against Green Bay:

“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 in 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.”

Last Sunday, Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert caught a pass, took two steps and reached over the goal line getting the touchdown signal from the official. Eifert fell over Raven safety Brynden Trawick, while controlling the ball over the goal line and then hit the ground losing the ball. The play was overturned. My thoughts are the play should be dead the second that ball crossed the goal line.

The rule says “that (a player) is clearly a runner.” Why are two feet good enough for a sideline catch and not for an in the field of play catch? It worked fine ever since I was a small child and needs to be adjusted to two feet down, without ball movement, is a catch. Period. It would have made Eifert’s clear touchdown count and the Cowboys would have had 1st and Goal against Green Bay last year. It’s bad for the NFL and needs to stop. Change the rule.

Captain Obvious

Andrew Luck, QB, IND (FB $9,100; DK $7,800): The Colts might have finally woken up. Hopefully they use a traditional style offense after it worked so well in the fourth quarter against Tennessee – using the run to setup the pass. Novel concept! Hopefully Pagano has a clue now. Projection: 24-34, 292, 3TDs.

Diamonds in the rough

Duke Johnson, RB, CLE (FB $5,400; DK $3,100): Johnson is cutting into Isaiah Crowell’s workload having taken over the passing downs. It’s just a matter of time before he’s the feature back with Crowell providing change of pace. Keep an eye on reports on the two of them, if the Browns lean Johnson give him a shot. Projection: 123 total yards, 2TDs.

Martellus Bennett, TE, CHI (FB $5,500; DK $4,500): I know what you are thinking: a Chicago Bear? You can’t be serious. I am. My laughable Bears, were exactly that in Seattle like I knew they would be. However the Oakland Raiders have been torched by tight ends and the Bears’ only chance is to focus on the other team’s weaknesses. If the Bears have any chance it’s using the tight end. Projection: 6-71-1.

Alan Berg has 10-plus years of experience at Las Vegas sports books and prior to moving to Las Vegas covered sports for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.  Twitter: @vegasberserker Email:

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