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NFL proposes a simplified definition of a catch

Corey Clement caught a touchdown pass in the Super Bowl that was the subject of scrutiny.Doug Benc/AP

The NFL’s Competition Committee has struggled for years to come up with clear, concise language for its catch rule. Next week in Orlando, NFL owners will vote on yet another version of the rule, which they hope will finally clear up any confusion about what is and isn’t a catch.

Al Riveron, the league’s director of officiating, revealed Wednesday on Twitter the new three-step process for determining a catch that the committee will recommend to the owners:

1. Control.

2. Two feet down or another body part.

3. A football move such as:

■   a third step

■   reaching/extending for the line-to-gain


■   or the ability to perform such an act

The proposed language does not include the phrase “survive the ground,” which was at the heart of some confusion last season.

Riveron and the committee spent several days this week reviewing plays from the 2017 season, including Jesse James’s controversial non-catch against the Patriots, and Corey Clement’s touchdown catch against the Patriots in the Super Bowl.

The committee also will recommend to owners that the standard for overturning plays via instant replay will remain indisputable evidence. Riveron, who makes all replay calls from the league headquarters in New York, was criticized for overturning several calls with less-than-clear evidence in 2017.

The catch rule is just one of several proposals being put up to vote at the owners meetings in Orlando, to be held Sunday through Wednesday. A vote of 24 out of 32 owners is required for a rule to pass.

For the third straight year, the Patriots are not proposing any rule changes.

Among the proposals:

■   The 49ers, Cardinals, and Chargers want a limit of three games per year that have “a scheduled kickoff time prior to 1 p.m. in the time zone of their home stadium.” In layman’s terms, they want a cap on East Coast 1 p.m. road games for West Coast teams. The London games also factor into this.


■   The Jets will recommend capping defensive pass interference penalties at 15 yards, except for egregious infractions, which would still be spot fouls.

■   The Chargers and Redskins want to make personal fouls reviewable plays in the instant replay system.

■   The Broncos want to be able to trade players who are on injured reserve.

The Competition Committee also will recommend making permanent the rule that places touchbacks on kickoffs at the 25-yard line. The league adopted this rule on a temporary basis the last two years.

The NFL said there will be discussion on the social justice platform, but no vote is anticipated on the national anthem game-day policy. The league’s current policy states that players “should” stand respectfully for the anthem and that it “may” punish players or teams, but it is not a requirement.

Ben Volin can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @BenVolin