Sun, Dec 13, 2015 - Page 18 News List

Commission to tackle ‘catch’ rule


Former NFL general manager Bill Polian, ex-NFL receiver James Thrash and three former coaches were named on Friday to a committee charged with trying to simplify the NFL “catch” rule.

The six-man committee also includes former side judge Tom Finken — one of the officials patrolling the sidelines, whose job is often to judge the veracity of a reception — and ex-coaches Joe Philbin, Jim Schwartz and Ken Whisenhunt.

Their mission is to define what constitutes a successful catch. They are to make a recommendation to the NFL competition committee on how to change one of the most troublesome rules in the sport.

“I think what we have to do is we have to settle on the rule that is properly communicated, properly understood and be officiated in play that, from a players’ perspective, they feel comfortable with,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said on Friday.

“We want to be able to understand better how we actually define how long they have to keep possession of the ball, and that’s really the key issue,” Goodell said.

“Sometimes people disagree with the rule, but a lot of the time, the officials have it correct. So we have to get that where it’s consistently done and it’s consistently understood,” he added.

Thrash, with 290 catches over 12 seasons, was last a receiver in the NFL in 2008, but if the committee wants input from an active receiver it would not have to look far to find it.

Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant, a victim of a reception that was overruled on instant replay in last season’s playoffs, has already offered his advice, saying: “They need to call me.”

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