NFL owners unanimously approve simplified catch rule

All 32 NFL teams were in agreement, the league has previously dropped the ball on the catch rule.

League owners unanimously approved a simplified version of what constitutes a completion for the 2018 season on Tuesday. Under the new wording, a catch will require control, two feet (or another body part) in bounds and a football move such as a third step or reaching/extending for the line-to-gain. Gone is the "going-to-the-ground" element of the previous rule.

Al Riveron, the NFL's senior vice president of officiating, said last week the league's competition committee would recommend simplifying the language of the catch rule and that the proposed changes would be presented this week at the league meeting. Riveron said the league had been examining footage of multiple plays to help shape the new catch rule.

The rule modification is designed with several disputed catches in big games over the years in mind, including Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Jesse James' overturned touchdown against the New England Patriots last season, Dez Bryant's overturned catch in the 2014 playoffs and Calvin Johnson's overturned, would-be game-winning touchdown in 2010.

"We want to take these great catches and make them into catches," Riveron said at a news conference Monday.

Also approved Tuesday is the making permanent of the rule that changes the spot of the next snap after a touchback resulting from a free kick to the 25-yard line and the authorization of the designated member of the officiating department to instruct on-field game officials to disqualify a player for a flagrant non-football act when a foul for that act is called on the field.

--Field Level Media