Roger Goodell says he plans to answer the calls from NFL players, coaches and fans and finally bring clarity to the league’s most confounding question: What is a catch?
In an interview with Fox Sports 1’s “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” on Monday, the NFL commissioner said that changing the notoriously ambiguous catch rule is a top priority this offseason.
“I’m not just somewhat concerned, I am concerned,” Goodell said when asked about his feelings on the rule.
Goodell revealed that he summoned five Hall of Fame receivers and several coaches earlier this month to discuss the rule and how it can be improved.
The catch/no-catch controversy reached its height in Week 15, when Steelers tight end Jesse James had his potentially game-winning touchdown overturned after officials ruled he did not maintain control of the ball after hitting the ground, thus failing to complete the process of a catch.
The call likely cost the Steelers a win against the Patriots, who went on to secure home-field advantage in the playoffs en route to their appearance in Sunday’s Super Bowl.
Goodell, who did not disclose details of how the league plans to tweak the rule, said he is approaching it with the knowledge that “fans want catches.” James’ play follows a series of big-moment controversies after Lions receiver Calvin Johnson and Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant had similar catches famously overturned in previous years.
“It’s particularly in going to the ground that has created a lot of the confusion because it’s a different rule when you’re going to the ground than when you’re on the sideline or in the end zone, and I think that’s what we’re focusing on,” Goodell said.
The NFL’s competition committee is slated to meet multiple times over the next two months, which could result in a new rule being proposed to owners in March.
“I hope we’ll be able to address this in a way that will bring more clarity, and frankly more excitement to this,” Goodell said.
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