Steelers News

NFL Teams Unanimously Approve New Simplified Catch Rule

As expected, the NFL now has a new catch rule for the 2018 season.

On Tuesday, NFL owners approved modifications to the catch rule for the 2018 season during the Annual League Meeting. The changes passed unanimously on a 32-0 vote, according to several online reports.

The key change to the catch rule eliminated the “going-to-the-ground” element of it. In short, the overturned touchdown catch last season by Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Jesse James in the key Week 15 game against the New England Patriots is now considered a catch, according to recent rule changes. The Steelers ultimately lost that home game to the Patriots 27-24.

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin is a member of the NFL Competition Committee and it was a goal of that group to simplify the catch rule this offseason. He reportedly played a key role in the wording of the new catch rule proposal in an effort to simplify it so all sides can clearly understand it.

“I think the language element of it is a critical element,” said Tomlin. “You have to find appropriate and thoughtful language that fits the obscure and the unforeseen. I believe we all can look at a catch and know what a catch is, but to come up with the appropriate language for the obscure and the unforeseen has been the task and I have been comfortable with what we have been able to get done. The play has been officiated and graded at real speed. I think some of the issues come in replay and with high def. I think that has been the challenge in terms of some of the language to be appropriate for some of the things that replay provides us.”

While there are still believed to be some gray areas in the newly modified catch rule, at least it seems like the recent changes are a move in the right direction. Many expect the changes in the catch rule to result in a few more fumbles being ruled.

Below is a look at the way the catch rule was previously written and how it is written now as a result of the passed changes.


The league owners also passed a few more rule changes and bylaws on Tuesday and below is a summary of that.

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