MINNEAPOLIS — Roger Goodell wants to see the mystery of the NFL’s catch rule solved, and he’s ensured that the process has begun.
The commissioner said at his annual Super Bowl news conference Wednesday that he personally sees that rule as the most obvious to address.
Asked about the scrutiny that NFL officiating came under this season, Goodell said “on the catch/no catch rule, we need to find a rule we think will address that. We certainly need to get this rule right so everyone can appreciate.”
Goodell recently spent three hours with former players, including Pro Football Hall of Famers, going over 150 plays. He said there were many good ideas offered, but as for the specifics of what should be a catch, there was little consensus.
So the competition committee will dive into not only this rule, but perhaps refining the rulebook.
“I would like to start back, instead of adding to the rule, subtracting the rule. Start over again and look at the rule fundamentally from the start. Because I think when you add or subtract things you can still lead to confusion. These rules are very complex; you have to look at what the unintended consequences are of making a change, which is what the competition committee, in my view, does so well and with so much thought.
“Clearly, the catch/no catch has had a lot of discussion. I won’t tell you there won’t be controversy (in the future), but we need to get to a better place.”
He added that there were more video replay interruptions in 2017 “and I think we can look at that. How do we make the game more attractive with less stoppages is one of the things we focus on. How do we use replay to ensure correcting obvious mistakes but making sure it doesn’t interrupt the flow of the game.”
Goodell also said the league has hired an investigator to look into claims of sexual and racial misconduct in the workplace against Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson.
Former U.S. attorney Mary Jo White will lead the investigation. White has led similar investigations in other fields, including a recent one at the University of Rochester.
Richardson stepped away from day-to-day operations after allegations surfaced and is seeking to sell the team.
The NFL has said it didn’t pressure Richardson to sell based on the allegations.