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Some rule changes for 2018 - 3/27/2018 1:16:23 PM   

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The freakin pass catch rule that drives the world nuts

NFL owners unanimously approve new catch rule
Other rule changes include touchback permanently moved to 25 and I.R. players now trade-eligible

Published: March 27, 2018 — 12:19 p.m.Updated: March 27, 2018 — 12:19 p.m.

NFL owners unanimously approved the new catch rule, the biggest of three playing rule changes for 2018, at the league meetings in Orlando on Tuesday.

Dez Bryant's non-catch in the 2014 divisional-round loss to the Green Bay Packers would now qualify as a touchdown, as would controversial overturned scoring catches by Pittsburgh Steelers and Chicago Bears tight ends, Jesse James and Zach Miller, respectively.

Here's the technical jargon regarding the catch-rule changes. Basically, two feet or a body part being down now constitutes a catch, as does a common football move occuring before the ball leaves the pass catcher's hands. Last, but certainly not least, the dreaded "going to the ground" requirement, or act of completing the catch, has been eliminated.

Are the changes perfect? No. Is this a step in the right direction? Absolutely. But there will undoubtedly be an adjustment period once the season gets underway, in which replays of questionable catches increases. That would obviously have the opposite effect of what the NFL wants, but it should be temporary.

Although the catch rule was the first order of business, several other interesting rule and bylaw modifications were approved Tuesday:

* Touchbacks will now permanently result in the ball being placed at the 25-yard-line.

* Replay can now be used to review flagrant non-football acts on the field and, in turn, disqualify the guilty party.

Bylaw modifications:

* The liberalization of timing, testing and administering physical examinations to draft-eligible players at a team's facility is now permanent.

* A proposal by the Buffalo Bills, which would allow teams to reclaim a player assigned to the waiver system within a 24-hour period, has been approved for one year.

* A proposal by the Denver Broncos allowing players on injured reserve to be traded was approved.

* A proposal by the Minnesota Vikings to replace the 10-day postseason claiming period with a 24-hour window approved.


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