- The NFL’s controversial catch rule had another huge impact on an important game.
- In the final 30 seconds of the game against the New England Patriots, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ potential go-ahead touchdown was overturned when it was ruled Jesse James bobbled ball after entering the end zone.
- Tony Dungy’s reaction after the game summed up why so many feel the NFL’s rule is needlessly complex.
The NFL’s controversial catch rule is under fire again after it was a huge factor in the New England Patriots’ huge win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in a game many had dubbed the biggest game of the season.
With under 30 seconds to go, Steelers tight end Jesse James appeared to catch a potential game-winning touchdown pass. But when the officials’ review of the touchdown took longer than expected, it quickly became clear that the ball had come loose from James’ hands after he stretched for the end zone.
According to NFL rules, this is a cut-and-dry incomplete pass as the receiver must control the ball all the way to the ground.
After the game and during NBC’s “Football Night in America” show, former NFL head coach Tony Dungy perfectly explained to host Dan Patrick why this rule is so frustrating for so many football fans.
“This is absolutely the right call based on the rule,” Dungy said. “But I tell you, Dan, flag football, high school football, college football. Any place you play football, other than the NFL, that’s a touchdown.”
In other words, the NFL is now playing a sport that is different than every other form of football that fans are familiar with.
While many point to the controversial Dez Bryant non-catch during the 2014 playoffs, Dungy went on to explain that the NFL’s overly-complex catch rule harkens back to the famous Calvin Johnson non-touchdown during the 2010 season.
“Because of Calvin Johnson in 2010, and trying to justify that, we have all these plays now that everybody knows are touchdowns, but now they are incomplete,” Dungy said.
In other words, the NFL became so concerned with the once-every-few-years unusual play, that they created a rule that now turns seemingly basic catches into game-changing incompletions.
Here are Dungy’s comments, via NBC.