The New England Patriots-Pittsburgh Steelers game this past weekend has ignited a firestorm of debate over the last two days since the final horn sounded on the Pats 27-24 win. The reason for the constant debate is one play that happened with :28 left in the game and could have given Pittsburgh a lead and potential win.
Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger found tight end Jessie James inside the five-yard-line and James, turned, fell to a knee, and extended the ball over the goal line before being touched. However, after review, it was ruled that James didn’t “maintain possession through the process of the catch” and the play was overturned. The “what is a catch?” debate is now fully reignited and the conversation has largely centered on how to fix the catch rule. In order to get some professional insight into this debate, we caught up with New York Giants wide receiver and Inside The NFL analyst Brandon Marshall.
Marshall, along with Boomer Esiason, Ray Lewis, Phil Simms and James Brown break down this and other NFL storylines all season long each Tuesday night at 9 p.m. ET on Showtime’s Inside The NFL.
CBS Local Sports: First off, the Patriots-Steelers game this past weekend is being called the best game of the year, do you agree with that? Is that the best game we’ve seen?
Brandon Marshall: To be honest with you, it was one of the best games I’ve seen this year. But, before I got hurt, I was a player so I wasn’t watching all of the games.
CBS Local Sports: The big debate topic coming out of that game is the Jessie James play that was ruled to not be a catch. What did you think of that play having seen it multiple times now?
Brandon Marshall: It definitely was a catch and I think it’s an issue that we should address this offseason. It’s been an issue surrounding our league for the last three or four years. It’s a hot topic, and we have to address that.
CBS Local Sports: That wasn’t the only game that saw a wild ending. We saw Raiders QB Derek Carr fumble out of the back of the end zone for a touchback that gave the Cowboys the win. A lot of people aren’t fans of that rule either, what does the league need to do with that rule and to address the catch rule?
Brandon Marshall: The Derek Carr play, I would start with the root of it. How did we get there? How did we get to that rule? And then we go from there. Let’s reverse engineer it. A team that drives all the way down and then fumbles out of the end zone, I would like someone to explain to me why it turns into a touchback for the defense. That, I don’t know.
The catch rule, I definitely think it comes down to does the receiver pluck the ball and does it stick initially? If it does, if he makes a football play, a football movement, whether it’s two steps and make a move, it’s a catch. If he hits the ground, and it’s not moving after a pluck, the initial stick, it’s a catch. Then it turns into can the ground create turnovers? Can the ground force a fumble? The rule is no, so, that’s a catch.