Column: Major change possibly coming out of league meetings

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FILE – In this Nov. 26, 2017, file photo, Philadelphia Eagles’ Carson Wentz (11) is tackled by Chicago Bears’ Pernell McPhee (92) during the first half of an NFL football game in Philadelphia. The Washington Redskins have signed free agent linebacker McPhee. The team announced the deal Monday, March 26, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Perez, File)

The NFL’s annual league meeting is taking place right now from March 25th to the 28th in Orlando, Florida. There’s a whole lot for the league to discuss and hopefully figure out.

First and foremost, the league is discussing rule changes. Most importantly we might finally figure out the question that’s been tearing this country apart for years now: what’s a catch?

The league has recommended three things that would help simplify the language of what constitutes a catch. The first is the idea of control, which seems vague, but the receiver has to maintain control of the football. The second is that the receiver needs to put both feet down in bounds, and if not two feet, then some other body part needs to be in bounds. The last recommendation from the league is the inclusion of a football move. The NFL explains that a football move can be things such as:

1. A third step.

2. Reaching or extending for the line-to-gain.

3. Or the ability to perform such an act.

Does this all seem vague and confusing? Yes. Was the goal to simplify something that was already vague and confusing? Also yes. That’s the NFL in a nutshell.

One thing that this is conveniently eliminating is the “survive the ground” rule. This means that a slight movement of the football after hitting the ground would no longer invalidate a catch. This will surely cut down on replay times and thus shorten the length of NFL games.

This also means that the “Did Dez catch it” question is finally solved, and the answer is yes. It also means the almost game-winning Jesse James touchdown from last year should have been ruled a catch. The same goes for the Kelvin Benjamin play and the Zach Miller play.

Moving on, there is another topic that will probably be debated at great length during the meetings. The topic is none other than the protest of the national anthem and social justice message. I wouldn’t expect the league to reach an agreement this year though.

There seems to be some discrepancy among the owners themselves on the issue. Texans owner Bob McNair is firmly opposed to any sort of protest.

Jets owner Christopher Johnson, however, is on the other side of the spectrum.

It remains to be seen whether or not there will be a rule change. It could be agreed upon that all players must stand for the anthem, or that teams remain in the locker room for the duration of the anthem.

Whatever is decided, it’s pretty clear: Times are a changin’ for the National Football League.


Connor Donahue is the digital editor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at connor.f.donahue@uconn.edu. He tweets @conn_donahue.

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