There have been many plays throughout the past several years that have raised a lot of controversy in the NFL. The big question everybody asks is, “What is a catch?” Most NFL players and coaches around the league to this day still don’t understand what a catch is. I raise this point because just this past week in the NFL, yet another play was under a lot of controversy. This play took place in the New York Giants vs. New England Patriots game. Giant’s receiver Odell Beckham Jr. caught what would have been a go-ahead touchdown late in the fourth quarter to put the Giants up by five points and a chance to convert a two-point conversion to go up by seven points with under two minutes to go. They ruled it a touchdown on the field, but then after reviewing the play, the referees believed it was an incomplete pass. Beckham Jr. caught the ball and got two feet down. At the last second, the defender Malcolm Butler knocked the ball out of his hands, and that’s what made the referees reverse the call.
They say that you have to make a “football move” for the pass to be completed.
My question is: What kind of football move is Beckham supposed to make? He is already in the end zone thinking he has a touchdown. What else more does he need to do to complete the catch? The referees need to use the eye test or use their best judgment to make such critical calls like these. Instead, the Giants had to settle for a field goal to put them up two points, but that left Tom Brady too much time. He got the Patriots in field goal position to win the game.
Just last year, there was another extremely controversial call in the NFC Divisional playoff game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Green Bay Packers. The Cowboys were down by five points on the road in a critical fourth and two at the Packers 33-yard line. Tony Romo heaved up the ball to receiver Dez Bryant, who leaped in the air, and it looked to be a spectacular catch to get the Cowboys all the way to the one-yard line and in great position to take the lead.
Again, originally, this was ruled a catch on the field, but after further review, they overturned it and probably cost the Cowboys the game. Former NFL referee Mike Pereira stated that, in the process of going to the ground, you have to maintain control of the ball in order for it to be a catch. In Bryant’s catch, he caught it, got two feet down, and, as he headed to the ground, it appeared the ball might have moved around a bit and that’s what caused them to overturn it. Many people around the NFL and people in the media all believed that this was a catch, and so did I. I am not sure what else Bryant had to do to complete the catch.
You know it’s a bad sign when NFL players and coaches to this day still don’t understand exactly what a completed catch is supposed to look like. The NFL needs to fix this rule immediately before it costs another team a ball game.
Ryan Colon is a third-year student majoring in communication studies with a minor in journalism. He can be reached at RC759426@wcupa.edu.