Another end to the season of NFL as the Philidelphia Eagles do what I was hoping they would do. They took on the five-time Super Bowl winning New England Patriots and won in one of the best Super Bowl games I have watched in a long time, and could go down as one of the best Super Bowl games in history. The Eagles, led by Nick Foles, the Eagles back-up Quarterback, entered that stadium with a mission to take home the trophy as Super Bowl Champions, and they did, beating the Patriots 41-33. The final score of the game came from a third down pass from Foles to Zack Erts with a little over two minutes to go to score the last touchdown and take the lead.
However, like in every sport that’s played on the biggest stage, there comes controversy of some kind. With the NFL chances are good that when there is controversy, it comes from what exactly is considered a catch and what is ruled incomplete.
A quick history of the inconsistent rule that is the catch rule in the NFL. In 2014, the Dallas Cowboys were playing the Green Bay Packers in a Divisional round playoff game. In the final minutes of the game, Tony Romo threw the ball to Dez Bryant who caught the ball and went to the ground. As he hit the ground, the ball started to move after his arm hit the ground. This from the ref’s perspective was enough evidence to rule he did not have enough control of the ball and ruled it incomplete. From this moment on the “Catch Rule” has continued to be somewhat controversial as inconsistencies began to surface as more and more calls were being made either way.
In Super Bowl 52, there was a big call specifically that is being labeled as controversial. The big call comes from the catch by Eagles rookie Corey Clement. Clement hauled in a 22-yard pass from Foles, and in real time, it looks like an amazing catch. After the play, the refs go to review the play as they were not sure exactly if he had control of the ball. After reviewing it and slowing it down according to previous calls made earlier in the season, many believed that they would change to saying that it was incomplete. To many people’s surprise, the call stood and they called it a catch.
Here is why there is controversy. Nobody can say exactly what a catch is. The call depends on each individual referee that sees the play. One ref can look at a catch and think that he had enough control of the ball, while another ref can look at the same play and think that he didn’t have full control of the ball. There is no official statement of how much is enough for control. Without this level of accuracy, there will be problems.
The problem lies neither with the referees nor the players making the catch but the rule of what decides a catch. Roger Goodell, the commissioner of the NFL, came out earlier in the season and said that they plan to take a look into the rule of what a catch is. He said that they think there needs to be change and hopes that they can start from the bottom and work their way up. For me, the rule needs to be consistent. That is the biggest thing when it comes to sports and making the right call, you have to have consistency and with the rule in place it leaves a hole that time and time again has proven to be a problem.