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One of the NFL’s greatest controversies over the past decade has been its catch rule. Coaches, fans and the press alike have all derided the league for its ambiguity regarding what constitutes a catch.,
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Asa result of the uncertainty surrounding the rule,
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, we’ve seen numerous important and defining plays come down to what almost seem like coin flips. With something as essential to the sport of football as the act of catching the ball being subjective — which was highlighted by several close calls in February’s Super Bowl — it was clear that the league needed urgent change this offseason.
With an overhaul of the catch rule a top priority of the league’s Competition Committee,
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, the league’s owners were able to successfully pass a new catch rule proposed by the committee with an unanimous 32-0 vote at the annual owners meetings last month.
In speaking about the rule on Monday,
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, Harbaugh was instrumental in the elimination of the vague “element of time” previously required for a play to be ruled a catch., Competition Committee chairman Rich McKay commended Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh for his role in shaping the committee’s new definition of a catch. Specifically
“I think one thing Coach Harbaugh did is he got us to think about the fact that we needed to get out of the element of time,
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, and that’s what we tried to do.”,” McKay said. “How long did he have? We needed objective elements
“Nobody could ever figure out what the time element is because it’s subjective,” said Harbaugh. “To me that was the main thing that had to be done because if it’s subjective, then what is time? You just can’t make heads or tails of it.”,
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, even in replay,
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, if they slow it down
Working with Baltimore’s football strategy coordinator Matt Weiss,
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,the two came up with the idea to replace the time element with something less abstract: a third step inbounds. The team pitched the duo’s idea to the committee at the combine,
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,” the new rule also lists “reaching/extending for the line-to-gain” or “the ability to perform such an act” as “football moves” required to render a play a catch., and the proposal was eventually incorporated into the committee’s final version of the rule. In addition to Baltimore’s idea of a “third step
Said Harbaugh of the new changes: “It’s going to be great for players and coaches because you can look at and say,
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, ‘OK, or he didn’t get the foot down.’ And that’s going to be a good thing.”, he got the foot down
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