Today, Tyler Boyd's play is a TD catch because he stretched the ball over the goal line after he caught it.
ORLANDO, Fla. - It gets lost in the post-season disasters of Dez Bryant and Jesse James. But the Bengals have their own devastating story in the smoldering pile of the catch rule that the NFL owners unanimously voted to revise Tuesday during the annual meeting.
Basically now, if it looks like a catch, it is a catch. No longer is a catch ruled an incompletion by defying eyes and logic. If there's a slight movement of the ball or if a player clearly possesses the ball before hitting the ground, it is still a catch. Now in a sudden surge of nostalgia, you simply need to have control of the ball, get two feet down or another body part in-bounds, or make a "football move," by taking a third step or extending the ball.
"It makes it easier for people to understand," said Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis Tuesday. "I think the language they came up with is very good. I don't think it makes it more (definitive). There is still going to be some subjectiveness to it. There's going to be more catches and there are going to be more fumbles. But I think people can understand it a little bit better. The subjectivity of it may be refined and cut down a little bit, which is good."
Now go back to Nov. 14, 2016 and the Bengals Monday Night Football game in New York against the Giants. The Bengals are coming off a bye after a horrific 27-27 game in London against Washington and grinding at 3-4-1.
But it looks they've taken a 24-14 lead early in the third quarter on a huge diving third-down catch by rookie wide receiver Tyler Boyd for his first NFL TD catch. But when he stretches the ball over the goal line, the ball comes out and it's ruled a no catch. Instead of a 20-yard TD, it is a third-down incompletion. So they have to settle for Mike Nugent's 38-yard field goal in a game they'll lose, 21-20.
How would you like to be 4-4-1 instead of 3-5-1?
"I thought it was a touchdown," Boyd said back then. "Even if it was a fumble I was on it."
In the old days before the continuation rule it would have been a catch. So Lewis didn't challenge it. The mistake?
"I shouldn't have held it so far away from my body," Boyd said. "I should have secured it and muscled my way in. I still would have scored."
But today, it's a TD.
As for Lewis, he didn't have a vote. This is his first year since 2005 he's not on the competition committee but he had no comment on the move.