The NFL Competition Committee knew they would have some tough discussions this offseason, especially after such a controversial season with the league’s “Catch Rule”. Nonetheless, according to Judy Battista, the committee is looking at several changes to the league rules before the 2018-2019 year officially gets underway.
Competition Committee looking at potentially eliminating "going to the ground" portion of the catch rule in attempt to clarify.— Judy Battista (@judybattista) February 27, 2018
What could be called the “Jesse James Rule” would likely mean after a receiver has caught the football and gets two feet on the ground, he has completed the catch. It would simplify things for fans, officials and players, but also make the game itself a much cleaner product.
The less controversy the better.
But clarifying, and updating the “Catch Rule” aren’t the only changes which are being discussed.
More Comp Comm: looking at potentially more ejections for fighting. Committee has also taken long look at a targeting rule. Also looked at changing DPI from spot foul to 15 yards. Also expect to see more calls for illegal contact to try to limit amount of hand fighting.— Judy Battista (@judybattista) February 27, 2018
If last season was known for the controversial catch/non-catch calls, it also could have been remembered for the ridiculous fights which took place. Most would agree there is absolutely no place for this in the game, and the committee looking into more ejections could be just what the doctor ordered to curb some of this extra curricular stuff going on.
What intrigued me the most was the talk about changing defensive pass interference from a spot foul to a standard 15-yard penalty. This is how the NCAA calls the penalty, and it would make sense the NFL would follow suit.
One member of the Pittsburgh Steelers defense, Vince Williams, is certainly in favor of the change:
Yes no more spray and pray https://t.co/TCAi4zTopm— Vince Williams (@VinnyVidiVici98) February 27, 2018
The flip side to the celebration of the “heave and pray” style offense known by so many quarterbacks, like Joe Flacco, is how this rule change would also make it easier for defenders to be physical with receivers. If there is a deep pass down the sideline, interfering on purpose, knowing it would only be a spot foul, will certainly be something players will do to skirt the intent of the rule.
The last piece of news from the competition committee is how they want to change the way teams can, or cannot, hire coaches when their teams are still in the playoffs.
Another thing: league is expected to change the rule to allow teams to hire coaches, even while their teams are still active in the playoffs. That proposal has come up before and has failed, but is expected to have greater support after the Josh McDaniels situation with Colts.— Judy Battista (@judybattista) February 27, 2018
If the change is made, you might as well call this the “Josh McDaniels Rule”.
There are other concerns the Competition Committee will be addressing, and these changes will be announced before the league year starting in early March.