Here’s the catch: NFL refs thought they were right all along

The Standard Journal - - NATIONAL SPORTS - By Schuyler Dixon AP Pro Foot­ball Writer

Walt Cole­man doesn’t see the re­vamped catch rule as a big change for NFL game of­fi­cials be­cause the vet­eran ref­eree be­lieves they’ve al­ready been call­ing catches the new way.

If any­thing, Cole­man fig­ures there will be fewer re­views of their rul­ings.

“Most of the calls that seemed to cre­ate the most con­tro­versy, we ruled them cor­rectly and then they were over­turned on re­play,” Cole­man said on July 13 as of­fi­cials gath­ered for their an­nual pre­sea­son meet­ing in the Dal­las area. “From our stand­point, we’re just go­ing to con­tinue to of­fi­ci­ate the plays like we have.”

League own­ers unan­i­mously ap­proved the changes in April — more than three years af­ter Dez Bryant’s in­fa­mous catch that wasn’t in Dal­las’ play­off loss at Green Bay, and just a few months since Pitts­burgh’s Jesse James had a late go-ahead touch­down taken away in a loss to New Eng­land that dam­aged the Steel­ers’ hopes for the AFC’s top seed.

Es­sen­tially, the new rule elim­i­nates the ground as a fac­tor on catches while es­tab­lish­ing three main cri­te­ria:

—hav­ing con­trol of the ball;

—get­ting two feet down or an­other body part;

—mak­ing a foot­ball move, such as tak­ing a third step or ex­tend­ing the ball.

On the plays in­volv­ing Bryant and James, the ball moved slightly af­ter hit­ting the ground as they ex­tended it for­ward, even though they never lost con­trol of it. Both were ruled catches and over­turned on review.

“I don’t think it was one thing,” se­nior vice pres­i­dent of of­fi­ci­at­ing Al Riveron said. “I think we got to a point where fans, the of­fice, coaches, play­ers, wanted to see more ex­cit­ing plays. How do we make this par­tic­u­lar play a catch? How do we take the Dez Bryant play and make it a catch?”

Riveron said the com­pe­ti­tion com­mit­tee con­sulted with coaches, for­mer play­ers, game of­fi­cials and su­per­vi­sors, among oth­ers, to reach the rule change that was ap­proved.

/ Don Wright, File)

Pitts­burgh Steel­ers tight end Jesse James (81) loses his grip on the foot­ball af­ter cross­ing the goal line on a pass play against the New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots in the clos­ing sec­onds of the fourth quar­ter of an NFL foot­ball game in Pitts­burgh in De­cem­ber....

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.