Roger Goodell agrees with the rest of us — the catch rule needs to be fixed.
Speaking to the media on Wednesday at the Super Bowl, Goodell addressed the rule, which has been the most controversial of them all for quite some time now.
“From our standpoint, I would like to start back, instead of adding to the rule, subtracting the rule. Start over again and look at the rule fundamentally from the start,” Goodell said during his Super Bowl Week presser via NFL.com. “Because I think when you add or subtract things you can still lead to confusion. These rules are very complex -- you have to look at what the unintended consequences are of making a change, which is what the Competition Committee, in my view, does so well and with so much thought.”
Goodell expanded on where the starting points would be, and that it might not still be perfect — but better than it currently sits.
“We’re trying to supplement that here a little bit by ... giving them some thought [and] starters of the ideas we think we can focus on,” he said. “Clearly catch, no-catch has been a lot of discussion and a lot of disagreement ... and I think we can clarify this rule and I think we can do it with a lot of hard work [and] focus and get to a place where -- I’m not going to tell you there won’t be controversy, but I believe we can get to a much better place.”
The catch rule struck most recently this season when it appeared Steelers tight end Jesse James caught a game-winning touchdown against the Patriots, only to have it overturned. James caught the ball near the 1-yard line, landed on one knee, wasn’t touched, reached the ball across the goal line, but momentarily lost control as it hit the ground.
James caught the ball and made a football move, but because he didn’t complete the process of a catch, it was reversed. Ben Roethlisberger threw a game-sealing interception on the next play.
It’s been a problem in the past. Our first instance of catch rule madness came with Calvin Johnson in 2010, where his catch was also overturned and ruled incomplete (though you could certainly make a case for Bert Emanuel).
The most famous of them all, however, is Dez Bryant’s in the 2014 postseason against the Packers. Since then, the roars have only gotten louder and louder to fix the NFL’s most frustrating rule.
For football fans everywhere, to hear Goodell acknowledge it as an issue that needs to be fixed is something to look forward to in the offseason.