Among the many players who have been a victim of the NFL's troublesome catch rule is the Pittsburg Steeler's Jesse James. In a competitive game against New England Patriots
, the tight end did all he could to deliver a touchdown for the team. For him, he thought that he had completed his mission and his team was going to proceed to the next AFC level. This, however, did not happen as his catch was considered to have been dropped afterward. This particular non-catch had huge ramifications for the team as it was solely to blame for a lost game, as well as a lost chance to get to the Championships.
That disappointment will, however, herald better days ahead as the league has officially considered revisiting the rules. New rules that remove the ambiguity are expected to be enforced in the course of the season. Other players like Dez Bryant and Calvin Johnson have also been affected by the rules. The change will hopefully raise the team's morale and in turn, raise the Steelers odds for this season. It is not clear yet how the new rules will exactly remove the vagueness. The Senior Vice President of Officiating in the NFL, Al Riveron, took his time to explain the new rules.
According to Riveron, Bryant's non-catch presents a great example to analyze how the rules will change. In this example, the player hits the ground with the ball still in his arms. Since he has lost balance, however, his knee or another elbow must support him on the ground. The NFL rules currently consider a knee and shoulder to be equivalent to two feet. This leaves a player with an impossible situation where another limb must be on the ground if they are to retain the ball. Any additions to that or the loss of the ball would be a non-catch.
When applied to James' situation, the moment between his acquisition of the ball and his fall is what determines whether his catch is successful or not. Going by how he handled the ball before another player from the opposing team took him down, he could now still be free to get the ball and deliver a touchdown. This is exactly what he did in the game before the controversial catch rule was brought into focus.
So far, the proposals are just in the early stages and there is still time for the league to give an official statement about them. If the momentum is anything to go by, it is highly likely that the new proposals will come into effect. This will translate into a more stable league where non-catch rules won't have to cast a shadow of certain teams efforts. The new rules are not the only issues that will be considered. Some of the catches made will also be analyzed. This includes those made by Kelvin Benjamin and Zach Miller.
The change will be appreciated but the lost prospects for Steelers cannot be undone. The assurance that vague rules will no longer determine the fate of any other team is something that Steeler fans will nevertheless appreciate.