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Competition Committee meets with NFLPA and players

As we skim the various tweets coming out of Indianapolis, here’s one that caught our eye.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello says that the league’s Competition Committee spent two hours meeting today with NFLPA leadership and roughly 15 players. The player input, as Aiello said, is important to the work of the Committee.

As to one specific area, we’d love to have been a fly on the wall. (Unless having a desire to eat fecal matter is inherent to that specific transmogrification.) We’re referring to the rule that inexplicably was implicated on almost a weekly basis in 2009, from the first Monday night through the NFC title game and into the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl.

It’s the concept of catching the ball while going to the ground. In one case, the league admitted that officials erred in applying the rule, prompting former V.P. of officiating Mike Pereira to say, “I mean, this has gotten to be so convoluted, this whole act of catching a pass when you’re going to the ground, that it’s very difficult for people to grasp what is a catch and what isn’t a catch.”

So it’s critical that the league address this complex stew of securing possession and the ball touching the ground and moving or not moving when it touches the ground and the vague notion of the “second act,” a phrase that still doesn’t appear anywhere in the rule. The fact that a key member of the Competition Committee was burned by what we still believe to be an improper application of the rule in the Super Bowl likely puts clarifying the matter at the top of the “to do” list.

From our perspective, we simply want the rule to be clearly drafted and consistently applied in a manner that meshes with the plain language in the rulebook.