Cover Photo: FILE – In this Dec. 14, 1980, file photo, Minnesota Vikings receiver Ahmad Rashad, top, tumbles into the end zone with the winning touchdown after being tackled by Cleveland Browns’ Dick Ambrose in an NFL football game in Bloomington, Minn. Vikings’ Tommy Kramer connected with Rashad on a deflected 46-yard completion to give the Vikings a 28-23 victory over Cleveland to clinch their 11th division title in the last 13 years. (Joe Oden/Pioneer Press via AP)
Your Minnesota Vikings defeated the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday by a score of 34-7. As #SkolNation basks in the blowout, a different topic is circulating around the rest of the NFL:
What is a Catch?
The Patriots and Steelers contest was Sunday’s most anticipated matchup. With first place in the AFC on the line, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady did it again. However, their “W” wasn’t without controversy. No, no, no. That’s not because New England got caught cheating.
How many “Patriots are cheaters” tweets can I see on my timeline in a span of 60 seconds?
— Loren Bentley (@lorenbentleyy) December 18, 2017
The controversy actually came from the men in stripes. Steelers TE, Jesse James, appeared to secure the GW TD with less than 30 seconds left. After further review, the play was reversed and ruled incomplete:
Steelers potential game winning TD ruled NOT a catch. WOW. pic.twitter.com/cE6lHTnObk
— LeadingNFL ™ (@LeadingNFL) December 18, 2017
Two plays later, Big Ben threw an interception. Ball game.
As I mentioned, the whole “catch” conversation is back at the forefront of water-cooler discussions around the country.
This topic is so last week, am I right?
#SkolNation was all over the “catch-rule” when Adam Thielen’s back of the end zone TD catch, vs. the Panthers, was ruled incomplete. Just like our public schools and unemployment rate, Minnesota is a mile ahead of the rest of the country. Way to be leaders rather than followers.
At least one example every week of how dumb the NFL catch rules are. This week, it’s this Adam Thielen TD being reversed. Yes, the ball moves, but it never touches the ground, and he literally “maintains possession.” The movement strengthens his possession. ? pic.twitter.com/7yuBI3WGQM
— Simon Samano (@SJSamano) December 10, 2017
In atypical fashion, I have no unwarranted to guidance to offer on this subject. ZERO. Trying to break it all down just pisses off my brain.
So, I’ll let you consider this an official inquiry with the NFL. Unfortunately, I’m not even sure they know the answer. Here is what their rules define as a catch:
- A player is considered to be going to the ground if he does not remain upright long enough to demonstrate that he is clearly a runner. If a player goes to the ground in the act of catching a pass (with or without contact by an opponent), he must maintain control of the ball until after his initial contact with the ground, whether in the field of play or the end zone. If he loses control of the ball, and the ball touches the ground before he regains control, the pass is incomplete.
Ok. In the Steelers’ situation, he was trying to break the plane. The second the ball does that, it’s six points. That rule, combined with the catch definition, seem to contradict one another. If I want contradictions, I’ll talk to a meteorologist. If I want something that’s open to multiple interpretations, I’ll study legal jargon.
The league office is all hands on deck in regards to this ongoing controversy. Roger Goodell and company have called in the big guns.
The NFL Senior VP of Officiating, Al Riveron, released an explanation as to why the initial call on the field was reversed. It wasn’t your average written statement. Riveron goes full Morgan Freeman/Shawshank Redemption on the bit:
— NFL Football Operations (@NFLFootballOps) December 18, 2017
It doesn’t appear Al will be nominated for an Oscar anytime soon.
Thankfully for Viking’s fans, the Thielen “drop” from Week 13 didn’t carry the same implications Jesse James’ did. After Pittsburgh’s loss, it appears that the Patriots will have home field advantage throughout the AFC Playoffs. If the Purple end up meeting New England this season, that game will take place at U.S. Bank Stadium.
— SNF on NBC (@SNFonNBC) August 28, 2017