Catch rule lives? Julio Jones' apparent catch called incomplete on controversial call

Julio Jones had a potentially big catch ruled incomplete on a controversial call. (AP)
Julio Jones had a potentially big catch ruled incomplete on a controversial call. (AP)

Atlanta Falcons receiver Julio Jones clearly thought he had a catch. He got up, confidently spun the ball, and seemed to have no concern that his circus play would be called incomplete.

It took less than three quarters into the season to have our first “Is that a catch?” debate. We were supposed to be done with this.

Instead of a 52-yard catch, Jones’ play against the Philadelphia Eagles was called incomplete. He juggled it, but hauled it in as he went to the ground — it was actually a pretty amazing play — and slid on the ground with the ball pinned to his shoulder.

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But it was called incomplete, and after a replay review, it was called incomplete again. The NFL overhauled its controversial catch rule in the offseason, and in the first game of the regular season it had a controversial call on what looked like a catch.

Many seemed to think Julio Jones made a catch

The NBC announcers seemed to think it was a catch. Terry McAulay, the official-turned-analyst for NBC, seemed confused why it was called incomplete. Pretty much everyone watching, at least outside of Philadelphia, thought it was a catch.

This all sounds too familiar, doesn’t it?

The catch rule was changed over the offseason. After years of frustration we were told that, in basic terms, if it looks like a catch it will be called a catch. But that didn’t happen in Jones’ case. It was close. Jones was near the sideline as he was still sliding, trying to get control.

But, it looked like a catch. And we had a new controversy when there wasn’t supposed to be any more like this.

Jones had a potentially huge play taken away

It was a huge play in the game. Ryan found Jones running open downfield — he needed to lead Jones more into the middle of the field, but threw it too close to the sideline — and it was going to be the first big gain in an ugly game. The Falcons led 6-3 at the time. The Eagles forced a punt, then drove down the field (thanks to another “Philly Special” call) and took the lead. The Falcons had a right to be upset.

Jones’ apparent catch was not a catch. Everything old is new again. The catch rule won’t die.

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Frank Schwab is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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