This year, the definition of a “catch” has been highly contested in both baseball and football. With the AFC/NFC championships coming up this weekend, we’re going to look into the NFL’s ruling of a catch so you can shut down all of your friends that are trying to yell over you at the bar about how completely biased the refs are.
The key phrase (and incidentally, the most contested part) is that in order to complete a catch, the receiver must clearly become a runner. Two parts to becoming a runner; the first part we know: the receiver must have possession of the ball with two feet down and in bounds. The second part gets sticky: the receiver becomes a runner when he has enough control that he could defend himself from impending contact without loss of the possession of the ball.
Basically, you better have that ball glued to your hands or sorry, my friend, that’s incomplete. (Feel free to read all of the technical blah blah in rule 8, article 3 of the NFL handbook)
If you find yourself a little wary about this NFL rule, don’t worry, you’re not alone. In last weekend’s Cardinals-Packers game, Larry Fitzgerald had a controversial catch where he caught a pass and stumbled to the ground, causing a loss of possession. The refs deemed Fitzgerald as looking runner enough while falling, I suppose. Mike McCarthy, the Packers coach, was quoted after the game, “I don’t know what the hell a catch is anymore, it’s ridiculous.”
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