What Exactly Is A Catch Part: Two

What Exactly Is A Catch Part: Two

By: James Jackson

February 5, 2018

Once again the NFL finds itself in the center of controversy. The catch rule reared its ugly head once more however, this time it was in the biggest game of the year. Several times over the years has a game been decided by a simple question...was it a catch?

Eagles tight end Zach Ertz scored the go-ahead touchdown in Super Bowl 52 with just about two minutes left in the game. Ertz ran towards the end zone until he was tripped, sticking his arms out causing the ball to bounce out of Ertz hands. After further review the official declared Ertz became a runner and crossed the goal line. That call eventually became the go-ahead touchdown, giving the Eagles their first Super Bowl championship.

The Patriots have been on both sides of that call. In week 15 of the 2017 NFL season Steelers tight end Jesse James made what appeared to be the game winning touchdown until the NFL officials overturned the call. The head official in that game said “As he hit the ground, the ball began to roll and rotate and the ball hit the ground, and that’s the end of it at that point.”

If you go back to 2014 when Dez Bryant made a catch that could have been the game winning touchdown for the Cowboys. That play was clearly a catch as Dez Bryant didn’t lose control of the football once he crossed the goal line. However the officials decided that Bryant didn’t maintain control of the football and overturned the original call.

According to the NFL rule book, Rule 8 Section 1 Articles 3-4 “Completing A Catch” it clearly states a player must:

“secures control of the ball in his hands or arms prior to the ball touching the ground; and touches the ground inbounds with both feet or with any part of his body other than his hands; and maintains control of the ball after (a) and (b) have been fulfilled, until he has the ball long enough to clearly become a runner. A player has the ball long enough to become a runner when, after his second foot is on the ground, he is capable of avoiding or warding off impending contact of an opponent, tucking the ball away, turning up field, or taking additional steps”

By that ruling Zach Ertz catch in the end zone was in fact a catch. Ertz did become a runner and break the goal line before losing possession of the football. Hopefully next season the NFL comes up with a better explanation of what a catch is.




Matt Stone