It’s 2019 and there is still confusion on what is, or in this case isn’t, a catch.
The question of “what is a catch” followed a controversial call in the first half of the Bears and Eagles wild-card matchup Sunday at Soldier Field.
It was just before halftime when Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky found wide receiver Anthony Miller downfield. Miller took a few steps with the ball in his hands while simultaneously fighting off an Eagles defender.
The ball was eventually knocked loose and rested on the field without any other player scooping it up. The original call was an incomplete pass, but under the new rule, which calls for players to only take a few steps while controlling the ball, should it have been ruled a catch?
The NFL thought so, but what’s more confusing is what happened after the ball fell from Miller’s hands.
“The receiver controlled the ball with two feet down and took an additional step, so it was a catch,” read a tweet from Senior Vice President of Officiating Al Riveron. “However, because he was not down by contact and there was ‘no video evidence of a clear recovery or the ball going out of bounds’, the ruling of incomplete stands.”
“In #PHIvsCHI, the receiver controlled the ball with two feet down & took an additional step, so it was a catch. However, because he was not down by contact & there was ‘no video evidence of a clear recovery or the ball going out of bounds’, the ruling of incomplete stands.” – AL pic.twitter.com/c0E00tOZwT
— NFL Officiating (@NFLOfficiating) January 6, 2019
The NFL officiating account also tweeted a passage from the “Instant Play Case Book” that stated:
“When a pass is ruled incomplete, either team can challenge that it was a catch and fumble and that they gained possession of the ball, if there is a clear recovery. The replay official can also initiate a review of this play if it occurs after the two-minute warning or during overtime. If there is video evidence of a clear recovery by either team, the ball will be awarded to that team at the spot of the recovery, but no advance will be allowed. On fourth down or inside two minutes, the ball will be brought back to the spot of the fumble if recovered beyond it.”
The Bears overcame the play call to take a 6-3 lead at halftime.