Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti says NFL's catch rule is 'stupid' and needs to be changed

Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti isn’t sure what a catch is either.

At the State of the Ravens address Friday, Bisciotti backed commissioner Roger Goodell who said during his Super Bowl news conference last week that he’d like the league to start over again in determining what is and isn’t a catch.

“The whole thing is stupid,” Bisciotti said, shaking his head. “I heard Roger’s thing. I heard the whole objective/subjective thing. I agree with it. Start over. It’s just ridiculous.”

The Ravens weren’t involved in any catch/no catch controversies in 2017, but it was one of the stories of the 2017 season. The biggest example came in the Pittsburgh Steelers-New England Patriots regular-season matchup in December. The Steelers thought they scored the game-winning touchdown with a 10-yard pass from Ben Roethlisberger to tight end Jesse James with 28 seconds remaining. It was initially ruled a touchdown, but it was overturned upon review.

Roethlisberger threw an end zone interception two plays later, giving the Patriots the victory and the eventual No. 1 seed in the AFC.

“How can you can the ball, get both feet down, turn toward the end zone and start diving for it, and they say it’s not a football move?,” Bisciotti asked. “No, it’s stupid.”

Zach Ertz’s Super Bowl-winning catch Sunday night was upheld after an extensive review. Al Riveron, the NFL’s senior vice president of officiating, in his New York command center, took a long look at the game-deciding play and ruled that Ertz secured the ball for an 11-yard touchdown catch with 2:20 left. The play turned a 33-32 deficit into a 38-33 lead in the Philadelphia Eagles’ eventual 41-33 victory over the New England Patriots.

Ertz, a tight end, made the catch around the 5-yard line and dived into the end zone holding the ball securely. When he hit the turf, the ball hit the ground and popped into the air. On his back, Ertz recaught the ball and held it aloft. It was ruled a touchdown and confirmed.

Bisciotti has long defended the state of officiating in the NFL, but he said things have gotten so murky with the catch rule that there must be change.

“It is such a hard job, they do such a good job and yet we’re sitting there looking at five different HD camera angles, and then they’re changing some things, and I think it’s worse than it’s ever been,” Bisciotti said. “I think sometimes things have to get really, really bad before there is change. I bet you that there is going to be a significant change in that.”

That would be just fine with Goodell.

“Clearly catch, no-catch has been a lot of discussion and a lot of disagreement and I think we can clarify this rule and I think we can do it with a lot of hard work [and] focus and get to a place where — I'm not going to tell you there won't be controversy, but I believe we can get to a much better place," Goodell said at his Super Bowl week news conference.

jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

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