What is a catch? The NFL has been struggling with this for a few years now. Ever since robbing Calvin Johnson and the Detroit Lions of a victory in Chicago by introducing the phrase "the process of the catch", NFL officials have seemed to be making it up as they go.

Earlier this year, a catch caused everyone who believed they finally understood the rule to have to throw their hands up in the air. The New England Patriots had a lead late on the Pittsburgh Steelers when Jesse James snagged a pass, hit a knee in the field of play, and broke the plane of the endzone for a touchdown. Everyone watching the game knew it was a touchdown. Tony Romo was calling the game and made it sound like this was the easiest call for the officials ever, I mention Romo because we'll come back to him later.

As for the catch, here it is:

So let's go to last night. The Super Bowl, live in Minneapolis. An event that will go down as the most watched television event of 2018. A spectacle with so many eyes on it, 30 seconds of it is worth $5 million. With everyone dialed in, the exact same play as the Jesse James catch/no catch takes place. This time, Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz is the man in question. Watch this:

His catch is called a catch and touchdown because he "established himself in the field of play" before breaking the plane of the endzone. But wait, didn't Jesse James land on a knee before he broke the plane of the endzone? Yeah, he did.

So again, what is a catch? In December catching the ball on the field and losing it in the endzone didn't count as a touchdown, but then in February of the same season, magically it does.

You can't say its the difference between the regular season and the playoff either. Because this call has been screwed up in the playoffs before too. Remember when I said we'd come back to Romo? Well, a couple years ago, he was in one of these situations himself. Dez Bryant goes up for the catch, secures the ball, comes down with both feet, makes a "football move" then dives for the endzone, and it's called incomplete. Here's that video:

So, what is a catch?

Because right now we have two examples of the Ertz play being called incomplete, and one Super Bowl winning catch called a touchdown.


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