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Silentio
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We had a discussion about Finley's (non-)TD catch against the Panthers two weeks ago. Peter Kings weighs in this week in Monday Morning QB:

Read the article here 

Emphasis mine. I am in total agreement with King here. The rule is able to be understood using reason, but in practice it is absurd. There has to be a creative way for the NFL to standardize catches in and around the end zone that makes sense to players, coaches, and fans alike.
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Zero2Cool
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There's a link in my signature, please read its contents.



I'm not sure what a catch is any more either. I know the rules, I know what the rules say, but the enforcement of the rules appears to vary.
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Greg C.
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I accept the rule about controlling the ball to the ground, but that variation on it doesn't make sense to me. If the receiver is already in the end zone, it's not a catch, but apparently if the receiver is falling into the end zone, it is a catch. I don't get it at all.
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Nonstopdrivel
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Well, it's because the ground can't cause a fumble, you see. Unless that ground is painted the goal line. Then it can.[duh]
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Silentio
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Originally Posted by: Zero2Cool 

There's a link in my signature, please read its contents.



Sorry about that, Zero. Iโ€™ll do better next time coach.

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Dexter_Sinister
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The thing that I am most disappointed with is there seems to be no delineation to the act of making a catch or to the act of going to the ground.

How far does the WR have to go before he goes to the ground before it is no longer the act of catching the ball. How far after hitting the ground does going to the ground last.

Calvin Johnson was actually getting up from the ground when he lost the ball.

Jennings lost the ball after getting his third step down out of bounds before going to the ground.

I watch when a WR took 2 steps out of bounds before hitting the ground, it was a catch before he hit the ground, but apparently if you go to the ground after making a catch getting both feet in bounds, taking two steps out of bound then hit the ground, the ground can cause an incompletion.

Where does the act of catching the ball end? My opinion is when possession is established by normal criteria. 2 feet down and a football related move. Which should include that 3rd step.

Going to the ground should end when your downward momentum is stopped. Either movement has stopped or the WR starts getting up without halting his momentum.
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Greg C.
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Originally Posted by: Dexter_Sinister 

The thing that I am most disappointed with is there seems to be no delineation to the act of making a catch or to the act of going to the ground.

How far does the WR have to go before he goes to the ground before it is no longer the act of catching the ball. How far after hitting the ground does going to the ground last.

Calvin Johnson was actually getting up from the ground when he lost the ball.

Jennings lost the ball after getting his third step down out of bounds before going to the ground.

I watch when a WR took 2 steps out of bounds before hitting the ground, it was a catch before he hit the ground, but apparently if you go to the ground after making a catch getting both feet in bounds, taking two steps out of bound then hit the ground, the ground can cause an incompletion.

Where does the act of catching the ball end? My opinion is when possession is established by normal criteria. 2 feet down and a football related move. Which should include that 3rd step.

Going to the ground should end when your downward momentum is stopped. Either movement has stopped or the WR starts getting up without halting his momentum.



What they are looking at is whether the impact of hitting the ground causes the ball to be jarred loose. Usually that happens instantly, but sometimes it slips out a moment afterwards, as was the case with the Calvin Johnson play. I do think it was the impact of hitting the ground that caused him to drop that ball. He pretended afterwards that he had dropped it on purpose, but I never believed him, and that would be a very stupid thing to do anyway.

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Zero2Cool
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Originally Posted by: Greg C. 

I accept the rule about controlling the ball to the ground, but that variation on it doesn't make sense to me. If the receiver is already in the end zone, it's not a catch, but apparently if the receiver is falling into the end zone, it is a catch. I don't get it at all.




<puts on tinfoil hat>

Whichever referee is paid the most by the receiving team gets the call in their favor.
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Dexter_Sinister
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Originally Posted by: Greg C. 

What they are looking at is whether the impact of hitting the ground causes the ball to be jarred loose. Usually that happens instantly, but sometimes it slips out a moment afterwards, as was the case with the Calvin Johnson play. I do think it was the impact of hitting the ground that caused him to drop that ball. He pretended afterwards that he had dropped it on purpose, but I never believed him, and that would be a very stupid thing to do anyway.


That isn't my issue. The ball survived impact, Calvin rolled over and got his butt off the ground before he swung the ball around and hit the ground causing him to lose control of it. He was on his way back up.

That is the issue to me.

The initial impact didn't do anything.

How long after making a catch does the WR have to control the ball in the endzone before the play is over. 3 steps, 4 or mabye 5. What is the cut off. If a WR gets both feet down, gets knocked down by contact, does 3 somersaults, goes out of bounds, hits the goal post, lands on his left side and then drops the ball, is that still the process of the catch? If so, I disagree and it is a stupid interpretation of a good rule. That is a little extreme but if they don't say when the process ends, it never ends.

If the WR established possession by normal criteria before going to the ground, the ground shouldn't cause an incompletion. If he gets both feet in, then steps out of bounds and goes down, it should be a completion. The process should end when possession is established.
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Nonstopdrivel
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I would say this is a catch.:-"


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mi_keys
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Originally Posted by: Dexter_Sinister 

That isn't my issue. The ball survived impact, Calvin rolled over and got his butt off the ground before he swung the ball around and hit the ground causing him to lose control of it. He was on his way back up.

That is the issue to me.

The initial impact didn't do anything.

How long after making a catch does the WR have to control the ball in the endzone before the play is over. 3 steps, 4 or mabye 5. What is the cut off. If a WR gets both feet down, gets knocked down by contact, does 3 somersaults, goes out of bounds, hits the goal post, lands on his left side and then drops the ball, is that still the process of the catch? If so, I disagree and it is a stupid interpretation of a good rule. That is a little extreme but if they don't say when the process ends, it never ends.

If the WR established possession by normal criteria before going to the ground, the ground shouldn't cause an incompletion. If he gets both feet in, then steps out of bounds and goes down, it should be a completion. The process should end when possession is established.



The issue you raise is also my biggest problem with how the rule has developed/been interpreted over the past several years. If I recall correctly the ruling on the Jennings drop was that he was going to the ground because the defender had jumped on him as he was catching the ball. Then again, in week 1 I saw Brandon Marshall make a catch going up with a defender, stumble taking two steps and lose the ball when he hit the ground trying to stretch out for more yardage as he was going down; and no one questioned it. I have yet to see one good, consistently applied definition of what going to ground in the process of making the catch means.

I'm speculating here, but I think this rule gets its roots in a controversial call in the '99 NFC Championship game between the Bucs and Rams: the Bert Emmanuel catch. I'm sure a number of you remember the play, but what looked like and felt like a catch was reviewed and ruled incomplete. It may well have cost Tampa Bay the game; and the rule was changed that offseason. For reference, here is the play:

http://www.youtube.com/w...PujI&feature=related 

And what they changed the rule to in 2000:

Quote:

A receiver has to have possession of the ball and control of the ball. If when making a catch and falling to the ground, the ball is allowed to touch the ground and still be considered a catch if the player maintains clear control of the ball.



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2000_NFL_season 

I think that's where the "must maintain control through the process of the catch when going to the ground" has come from. If that was the original intent, then I think the rule should be stripped back down to how that original play and interpretation would have played out. They should limit it to plays where the receiver has dove to make a catch or something similar, where the catch and collision . They should also clearly define when the process of making a catch while going to the ground has been completed, to eliminate terrible rulings like what they got with Calvin Johnson last year.
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beast
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Calvin catch was a catch (he just put it down too early)... it's just the NFL wanted to crack down on letting the ball go too soon and he was in the wrong place at the wrong time and the Refs called it and made him the poster boy for the rule.

But it's simple... catch the ball in bounds and hold onto it...

For a TD... catch the ball in bounds, have it in the TD area and hold onto it...

You have to prove possession ether way... if you don't prove possession it's then a drop... it's the same all over the field.

The different is simply where you prove possession... if you prove it before the end zone all you have to do it get the ball into the end zone... if you don't prove possession before the end zone you have to prove possession in the end zone.
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Dexter_Sinister
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Originally Posted by: beast 

Calvin catch was a catch (he just put it down too early)... it's just the NFL wanted to crack down on letting the ball go too soon and he was in the wrong place at the wrong time and the Refs called it and made him the poster boy for the rule.

But it's simple... catch the ball in bounds and hold onto it...

For a TD... catch the ball in bounds, have it in the TD area and hold onto it...

You have to prove possession ether way... if you don't prove possession it's then a drop... it's the same all over the field.

The different is simply where you prove possession... if you prove it before the end zone all you have to do it get the ball into the end zone... if you don't prove possession before the end zone you have to prove possession in the end zone.



How long do they have to hold on to it? What is the magic point in time when the process of making a catch ends you can hit the ground and not cause an incompletion? When does going to the ground end? How long after hitting the ground does that process go?

That is the problem your simple answer doesn't address. In a perfect world, the WR holds on to the ball until after he gets up and hands it to the official. The real world isn't perfect. The rules should explain when those processes start and end. But they are so open ended, that a guy can get both feet down in bounds with control, step on the boundry, take another step, and then land on the ground losing the ball and it is incomplete. Or a guy can make a catch in the end zone, get both feet down, get his butt down, roll over onto his knees and start getting up and lose the completion because the ball squirted out of his grip after he was up on one knee.

Real examples of how poorly this rule is interpreted.

My opinion is that when the receiver controls the ball, gets 2 feet down and makes any move, the process of making a catch is over. What happens after that follows according to a ball carrier with possession. If he falls and hits the ground untouched and loses the ball, it is live. If he is knocked down, the ground can't cause a fumble and he is down by contact.

If a player touches the boundary and is touching the Football, the play is instantly dead. What happens after that is not relevant. If he had control and 2 feet or a knee in bounds the play is dead as soon as he touches the boundary. If he doesn't have control, the play is dead without that player being in possession of the ball.

If a player goes to the ground without establishing possession by the normal rules of 2 feet down and a move, then he has to control the ball and not touch the boundry or let the ball touch the ground out of his control while going to the ground.

As far as the definition of when going to the ground ends, it should be when his downward momentum stops. Even if he bounces and hits the ground a second time causing him to lose the ball. If control survived initial contact with the ground, as long as the player is in the endzone, out of bounds or downed by contact, the catch is completed and play is over. If he is not downed by contact, out ov bounds or in the end zone it is a live ball.

They need clear delineation of when those two processes start and end.


I want to go out like my Grandpa did. Peacefully in his sleep.
Not screaming in terror like his passengers.
beast
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Originally Posted by: Dexter_Sinister 

How long do they have to hold on to it? What is the magic point in time when the process of making a catch ends you can hit the ground and not cause an incompletion? When does going to the ground end? How long after hitting the ground does that process go?

That is the problem your simple answer doesn't address.



Because that answer is football 101... you play till the whistle blows... until the Refs rule the play dead...


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Dexter_Sinister
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Originally Posted by: beast 

Because that answer is football 101... you play till the whistle blows... until the Refs rule the play dead...



Arbitrary then.
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beast
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Originally Posted by: Dexter_Sinister 

Arbitrary then.



No and you know that (or should if you know football 101). The Ref is suppose to blow the whistle when the play is over.
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Dexter_Sinister
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Originally Posted by: beast 

No and you know that (or should if you know football 101). The Ref is suppose to blow the whistle when the play is over.


When is the play over? That is the arbitrary part.

The definitions don't state when going to the ground stops. Don't use circular logic and say at the whistle. When is the official supposed to blow the whistle according to the rules? I have seen them do it after the WR takes 2 steps out of bound and then hits the ground.

When does the process of catching a ball end? We need a concrete delineation of when the process of making a catch ends and possession is established. What happens after that should be according to the rules of a ball carrier with possession. Which is not the end of the play.

We also need to have a concrete delineation of when going to the ground ends. Not the arbitrary decision of the official. I think it should be initial impact with the ground. When all downward momentum has stopped. If they roll, bounce or get hit after that, that should be after the play is dead by the rules. Not by the official deciding arbitrarily.

You can't replay an arbitrary decision. You can't even get more than one person to concur on when exactly that point is. But downward momentum stopping is a much more finite point than the process of going to the ground.
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PackerTraxx
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As ususal the NFL can't keep anything plain and simple. The interpretation should be the sam in the end zone as the rest of the field. They complicate instant replay even worse.
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longtimefan
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Again, if the ground cant cause a fumble in the 100 yards of the field, why is it different in the endzones?
beast
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blah blah blah... I'm tired of the whining, complaining and excuses...

hold onto the ball in the end zone and it's a TD... it's simple as that...

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