PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 17: Jesse James #81 of the Pittsburgh Steelers dives for the end zone for an apparent touchdown in the fourth quarter during the game against the New England Patriots at Heinz Field on December 17, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After official review, it was ruled an incomplete pass (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
Photo: Joe Sargent/Getty Images
Photo: Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Hartman: NFL approves much-needed changes to catch rule

It’s official: A catch should be more like a catch again this season in the NFL. 

The league announced Tuesday that owners have approved a recommendation to change the definition of a catch after years of confusion surrounding the rule. 

RELATED: Sanity could be coming to NFL catch rules

The rule now reads: 

A player who makes a catch may advance the ball. A forward pass is complete (by the offense) or intercepted (by the defense) in the field of play, at the sideline, or in the end zone if a player, who is inbounds: 

(a) secures control of the ball in his hands or arms, prior to the ball touching the ground; and  

(b) touches the ground inbounds with both feet or with any part of his body other than his hands; and 

(c) maintains control of the ball after (a) and (b) have been fulfilled, performs any act common to the game (e.g., tuck the ball away, extend it towards or over the goal line or the line to gain, take an additional step, turn upfield, or avoid or ward off an opponent), or he maintains control of the ball long enough to do so. 

Multiple items describing other steps that were previously used to determine if a catch had occurred were removed, including exceptions for players going to the ground, catches attempted along the sideline and in the end zone. 

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