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NFL owners to mull new catch rule, 9 others


ORLANDO, Fla. – NFL owners will consider adopting 10 new rules at their annual league meetings this week in Orlando, most notably one that "changes [the] standard for a catch."

The NFL competition committee is attempting to simplify and clarify a confusing rule that has led to a handful of plays that were ruled catches on the field controversially overturned following replay reviews.

The committee is proposing that a receiver needs only to control the ball with two feet or another body part down while making a football move such as taking a third step or extending the ball. The new rule would eliminate the need for the receiver to maintain possession of the ball after hitting the ground.

One of the plays that was overturned from a touchdown to an incompletion that no longer would be changed under the new rule involved Bears tight end Zach Miller. Last season against the Saints, Miller caught a pass with two feet down in the end zone and didn't let go of the ball until he sat down after suffering a serious knee injury.

Another new rule, proposed by the New York Jets, would change defensive pass interference from a spot foul to a 15-yard penalty unless the infraction was "intentional and egregious."


Referee John Hussey reviews a play during last season's Bears-Packers game at Lambeau Field.

To adopt a new rule, 24 of 32 owners must vote to approve it. Here is a summary of the 10 rule changes being proposed this week and who submitted them:

1. Makes permanent the playing rule that changes the spot of the next snap after a touchback resulting from a free kick to the 25-yard line. (Competition Committee)

2. Changes standard for a catch. (Competition Committee)

3. Makes the penalties for Illegal Batting & Kicking the same. (Competition Committee)

4. Amends Rule 15, Section 2, Article 5 to add fouls for roughing the passer and fouls against players in a defenseless posture as reviewable plays in the instant replay system. (Chargers)

5. Amends Rule 15, Section 2, Article 5 to add review of personal fouls as reviewable plays in the instant replay system. (Redskins)

6. Amends Rule 8, Section 5, Articles 1-4 to change the enforcement for defensive pass interference. (Jets)

7. Authorizes the designated member of the Officiating department to instruct on-field game officials to disqualify a player for a flagrant non-football act when a foul for that act is called on the field. (Competition Committee)

8. Conforms the amount of time in which a team must challenge a play if there is a television commercial break following the play in question. (Competition Committee)

9. Eliminates the requirement that a team who scores a winning touchdown at the end of regulation of a game to kick the extra point or go for two-point conversion. (Competition Committee)

10. If there is a turnover, a team may win an overtime game, even though it scores on its second possession. (Competition Committee)

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