- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 27, 2018

NFL owners unanimously approved a simplification of the league’s definition of a catch Tuesday at the annual owners’ meetings.

A player who catches the ball only needs to have three things: control of the ball, two feet in bounds and one “football move,” such as a third step or a forward reach to gain yardage.

“If someone asks, ‘What is a catch?,’ we can say, ‘It’s control, two feet and perform a football act,’” said NFL executive vice president Troy Vincent. “OK, now that makes sense.”

The requirement to maintain full control of the ball as a player “goes to the ground,” which thwarted and frustrated many players and fans alike, is stricken from the rule.

The NFL competition committee spent time this offseason watching tape of disputed catches from recent seasons and working backwards to determine how they wanted to re-define a catch.

Al Riveron, the league’s senior vice president of officiating, is also a proponent of the newly defined rule. He felt that a ball moving slightly in a receiver’s grasp was being mistaken for lack of control.

“If we see total loss of control, that’s the way we’re going to rule it,” Riveron said. “But we understand there are situations where the ball is going to move. We have to see loss of control.”

Coaches will still be able to challenge the status of a catch.

Another new rule approved this week gives Riveron the authority to call officials at any game and instruct them to eject a player for “a flagrant non-football act” if a foul is called on such an act.

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