The vote will come next week in Orlando, but the NFL actually said its first good-bye to its controversial catch rule with 7 minutes, 18 seconds left in the third quarter of Super Bowl LII at U.S. Bank Stadium on Feb. 4.
The game was stopped at that point to review a touchdown catch by Eagles running back Corey Clement. Replays showed the ball moving ever so slightly as Clement went through the back of the end zone after already getting two feet inbounds.
Based on other touchdowns that were overturned last season, Clements’ touchdown should have been overturned.
But would the NFL allow its complicated and detested catch rule to bleed onto its grandest stage? Would millions of fans be left with memories of a big third-down catch that was a catch but wasn’t ruled a catch?
After review, the announcement was made that the plays “stands” as called, not that it was “confirmed.” That was the NFL’s way of saying it was getting a head start on changing the catch rule.
At next week’s league meetings in Orlando, owners are expected to approve recommendations from the competition committee.
Here’s what would constitute a catch:
—Control of the ball.
—Getting two feet down.
—Performing a football act.
—Taking a third step.
Vikings fans could have used that common-sense approach back on Dec. 10 at Carolina.
Near the end of the first half, receiver Adam Thielen caught what was ruled a 4-yard touchdown pass. He caught the ball and fell inbounds on his back and slid out of bounds. The ball moved slightly, but didn’t even touch the ground.
The touchdown was overturned and the Vikings settled for a field goal in a game they lost by 7. Coach Mike Zimmer wasn’t happy at the time or the next day.
“I just think the whole thing is messed up,” Zimmer said the day after the game. “I’ve been doing this for 30 years, and I know what a catch looks like. So the ball moved a little bit, yeah, but he caught the ball.”
The NFL took its first step toward fixing that problem at U.S. Bank Stadium back on Feb. 4.