NFL owners voted unanimously Tuesday to simplify the league's much debated catch rule, and it's going to make a lot of people happy.
Here's how officials will define a catch, it's a three-step process:
- Receiver must control the ball
- Must establish himself in bounds
- Must make a football move (take a third step or lunging forward)
Gone is the rule that forced receivers to control the ball throughout the process of going to the ground.
Basically, if a play like one Calvin Johnson made in 2010 ever happens again, it should not be ruled incomplete. Johnson came down with the ball in the end zone and then dropped it as he began celebrating, and the officials overturned the touchdown.
The Vikings haven't fallen victim to the old rule often, and certainly not to the degree that the Steelers did late in the season against the Patriots when tight end Jesse James appeared to score the go-ahead touchdown late in the game only to have the officials overturn it.
NFL owners also voted to give to senior vice president of officiating Al Riveron the power to eject players for non-football acts, even if the referees don't see the situation the same way.