NFL VP of Officiating Dean Blandino Comments on State of the Catch Rule

Mike NorrisFeatured ColumnistFebruary 1, 2016

Dean Blandino, vice president of officiating for the NFL, presents the new technology that the NFL uses in the prevention and diagnosis of injuries, during a league news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, June 25, 2015. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
Manuel Balce Ceneta/Associated Press

A catch seems like one of the simplest things in the game of football, but to this day, it's hard for anyone to define. The NFL has rules that dictate a player must have two feet in bounds and make a football move while having complete control of the football.

The problem is that people have trouble defining certain aspects of those rules.

Slow-motion and high-definition replays allow officials to break down every questionable catch frame by frame, so they can see things the naked eye cannot, which results in several overturned calls on would-be receptions.

On Sunday, NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino spoke about the state of the catch rule on NFL Network Radio (h/t Will Brinson of CBS Sports).

"We think that the rule is in a good place right now. I really think it's just communicating the rule and educating," Blandino said. "There's a subjective element to the rule so there are always going to be those plays where we debate [what happened]. Maybe there's another tweak. But I don't anticipate any major changes."

Of course, he never clearly defined any of those rules.

Considering the NFL is as pass-heavy as it's ever been and a game-changing call in last year's NFC divisional round overruled a late would-be catch by Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant, it's surprising there aren't at least talks among the NFL brass about making changes.

Bryant was watching this year's NFC divisional-round game between the Green Bay Packers and Arizona Cardinals when the officials upheld a questionable catch by wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, and Bryant is still waiting to find out what a catch is, per Charean Williams of the Star-Telegram.

“I saw it,” Bryant said. “The NFL is still trying to figure out what a catch is. Whenever they figure that out, hopefully they’ll let me know.”

He reminded everyone during the game just what he thought of the call regarding his would-be catch:

For now, when a catch is in question, coaches, players and fans will have to wait in anticipation for an official to try to explain why he decided to rule the play complete or notwhile wondering if the official even knows why.

Blandino said he doesn't expect many changes, but with the Super Bowl looming, what might happen if a controversial call determines the outcome of the sport's biggest game?

If that happens, there's a good chance that "tweak" will come sooner rather than later.