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Michael Crabtree caught a ball, started running, took 3 more steps, then dropped it. It wasn't ruled a catch

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Today in CATCH/NOT A CATCH, everybody's least favorite reality TV show.

Thursday, we published a running history of every time the NFL's ultra-difficult catch rules had confused people. Add another one to the list! This Michael Crabtree catch was ruled not a catch.

So, let's go over what happens here.

  • Crabtree catches the ball
  • Crabtree gets both of his feet down in bounds while in possession of the ball
  • Crabtree begins to take his next step
  • Crabtree is shoved
  • Crabtree takes a step out of bounds
  • Crabtree takes two more steps out of bounds while falling
  • Crabtree touches the ball to the ground and drops it

A rational rulebook would say that once Crabtree catches it, gets both of his feet down, and touches his foot out of bounds, the play is over. He caught it, then went out of bounds.

The refs, on the other hand, say that Crabtree was "going to the ground," which means he has to control the ball through his contact with the ground, which he didn't. He's "going to the ground" because he doesn't "become a runner" before he begins falling. To "become a runner" a player has to stay upright long enough to "avoid or ward off impending contact of an opponent."

However, even by that stupid definition, it seems like the refs made the wrong call. It looks like Crabtree was a runner. He catches the ball, gets both of his feet down, and THEN begins taking another step to get his foot down out of bounds before he's touched. He's a runner! He's literally running!

The NFL has bad rules on catches, and even by those rules, this was a bad call.

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SB Nation presents: The NFL needs to tell us what a catch is in plain language