It seems as though the NFL's catch rules become more confounding each week.
After Odell Beckham had a touchdown catch overruled in a controversial call against the Patriots, the ever-confusing catch rules struck again in Week 11, albeit in a far less dramatic situation.
In the first half of the Oakland Raiders-Detroit Lions game, Raiders wide receiver Michael Crabtree seemingly pulled in a routine catch before going out of bounds.
Crabtree caught the ball, took two steps to keep both of his feet in, got hit out of bounds, and as he was knocked out of bounds, fell to the ground and dropped the ball as he hit the ground.
The referees ruled it wasn't a catch.
Here's the referees rationale, according to SB Nation:
The refs, on the other hand, say that Crabtree was "going to the ground," which means he has to control the ball through his contact with the ground, which he didn't. He's "going to the ground" because he doesn't "become a runner" before he begins falling. To "become a runner" a player has to stay upright long enough to "avoid or ward off impending contact of an opponent."
While that is understandable, it ignores the obvious situation of the play. Crabtree caught the ball with both feet in bounds, took a step out of bounds (thus becoming a runner), then got hit, fell to the ground and lost the ball. It would seem the refs' reasons for overruling the play only made sense after the play was over, after Crabtree had caught the ball and went out of bounds.
While this isn't a touchdown or any critical play, every catch and gain matters. We've already seen the catch rules change the outcome of games, and it seems as they become even more confusing, there will surely be more instances of it.
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