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NFL says Dez Bryant, Jesse James plays would be catches under new rule

The NFL Competition Committee's catch rule proposal takes steps in the right direction, but even with the changes, there may still be a problem of subjectivity.

Two of the most controversial plays in recent NFL history would have gone the other way if the proposed new catch rule had been in effect.

NFL head of officiating Al Riveron tweeted that the infamous Dez Bryant non-catch against the Packers in the 2014 playoffs, and the infamous Jesse James non-catch against the Patriots in the 2017 season, both would have been complete under the new catch rule.

The catch rule has been under scrutiny for years, but the Bryant play, which possibly cost the Cowboys the game against the Packers, brought it under particularly intense scrutiny. And the James play, which may have handed the Patriots home-field advantage over the Steelers, appears to have been the last straw.

Whether the new catch rule turns out to be any less controversial than the old catch rule remains to be seen. But it would have changed two of the most controversial plays the NFL has seen.