A Catch is a Catch is a Catch... Unless It's Not a Catch

posted by Steve Bortstein -

Catch Rule Details

The NFL's attempt to fix the catch rule took another major step forward.

And by forward, we mean towards common sense.

That’s because NFL Senior VP of Officiating Al Riveron announced yesterday that the Competition Committee will recommend simplifying the language of the catch rule next week at the Annual League Meeting.

The proposed rules defining a catch will be:

  1. Control of the ball.
  2. Two feet down or another body part.
  3. A football move such as:
    • A third step
    • Reaching/extending for the line-to-gain
    • Or the ability to perform such an act.

But just because the catch makes a little more sense we still won’t be subject to plenty of senseless replay as head of Football Operations for the NFL Troy Vincent says catches will continue to be subject to replay.

"If someone asks, 'What is a catch?', we can say, 'It's control, two feet and perform a football act.' OK, now that makes sense."

Yes, it does. Making my question “when did it ever stop making sense,” causing the league to change the rule to whatever what that ridiculousness was the past few seasons?

The NFL is doing just fine, thanks for your concern

I google searched for images of the city of Charlotte.

This looked like a nice photo.

I did this because I'm about to talk about the city of Charlotte and I didn't want to seem terribly rude or dismissive of the city or its residents.

Word came down this week that the Carolina Panthers, who play their home games in the city of Charlotte are receiving offers for as much as $2.5 billion from prospective new owners.

The Panthers are up for sale after allegations of workplace misconduct fell on the desk of current owner Jerry Richardson. News of investigations into those allegations last December were followed by an announcement that Richardson was selling the team. That announcement also came on the same day of a Sports Illustrated report detailing financial settlements Richardson made to former employees over racial and sexual misconduct allegations.

Charlotte is (according to Wikipedia) the 17th largest city in America by population. It ranks just ahead of Seattle and just a shade behind Ft. Worth. It is one of the nation's fastest-growing cities according to the U.S. Census Bureau, increasing in population more than 15 percent over the last 10-plus years.

Still, it's nowhere near the size of major metropolitan cities like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago or Houston. It would require 3 times as many people to live in Charlotte as what already occupies Houston.

The National Football League has been on a downward spiral for the last few years. Television ratings are tanking, attendance is dropping, interest in the league is at an all-time low.

At least that's what people want to keep telling you.

And once again, I'm here to remind you that's all a lie.

Two and a half billion dollars.

For an NFL team in a city that ranks 11th among U.S. cities with professional football teams. In a television market that doesn't compete at all with the top five cities in that regard. 

I'm not tearing into the city of Charlotte. 

On the contrary. I'm actually in awe of the city a little bit.

I'm berating many of you out there who still want to carry on with the narrative that the league is struggling.

To quote a line from one of my favorite films, "If people want to stand on your shoulders and call themselves tall, that's fine, but I don't have to sit here and listen to people lie."

NCAA Basketball Tournament - First Round - Greenville - Seton Hall v Arkansas

March Madness is back tonight

Four games tonight, four games tomorrow to get us to Elite 8 in the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.

Here's the schedule of events tonight along with picks for each game. My selections are in bold.

All times local
South Region
5:05pm Loyola Chicago vs. Nevada (-1.5) 
7:35pm Kentucky (-5.5) vs. Kansas State 

West Region
5:35pm Michigan vs. Texas A&M (+2.5)
8:05 pm Gonzaga (-5.5) vs. Florida State

All eyes on All Out Blitz in Sunland Derby

Sunland Derby Post positions were drawn on Wednesday for the 15th running of the $800,000 Sunland Derby (Gr. III) at one and one eighth miles. All Out Blitz was installed as the 4-1 morning line favorite in a very well balanced field of 12 runners for Sunday’s main event at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino.

Simon Callaghan’s All Out Blitz will receive ample betting attention. He was a runner-up to McKinzie in the Grade 3 Sham Stakes at Santa Anita and came in third in the Grade 2 San Vicente Stakes. In his maiden win at Los Alamitos last December, the Concord Point gelding beat Restoring Hope by a nose. All Out Blitz outran Southwest Stakes winner My Boy Jack in the Sham Stakes. Trainer Callaghan saddled 2015 Sunland Derby (Gr. III) Firing line who would go on to finish second to American Pharoah in the Kentucky Derby. 2-time Sunland Derby winning jockey Martin Garcia will ride All Out Blitz.

Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen entered two quality three-year-olds in New York Central and Dream Baby Dream. New York Central has already carved out two wins from four starts. The Tapit colt recently won an allowance at Oaklawn Park going one and one-eighth miles, the same distance as the Sunland Derby (Gr. III). He has a strong cruising speed and broke his maiden at Churchill Downs last fall. The winner of $104,600 is owned by WinStar Farm, China Horse Club International and SF Racing. The grey roan colt has been working forwardly since his last Oaklawn win on Feb. 19 and is rated the 9-2 second choice. Ricardo Santana will ride New York Central.

Dream Baby Dream is an imposing runner with recent Oaklawn Park form.  The Into Mischief colt is very fit coming off three straight third place finishes to stablemates New York Central and Title Ready and the Risen Star Stakes winner Bravazo. The battle tested sophomore is also a maiden winner from Churchill Downs and has a strong stretch kick. 2017 Sunland Derby (Gr. III) winning jockey Alfredo Juarez, Jr. will ride the 10-1 shot.

Asmussen won the 2017 Sunland Derby (Gr. III) with Hence.

Prince Lucky represents the Todd Pletcher stable. The Pennsylvania bred son of Corinthian is a restricted bred stakes winner at Parx and is a 3-time winner from 5 starts. The winner of nearly $135,000 has a good looking form line and split the field in the Grade 3 Lecomte Stakes at the Fair Grounds on Jan. 13. Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez will pilot the 6-1 morning line shot.

Hollywood Star rates a major threat for trainer Dale Romans. The Malibu Moon colt was graded stakes placed in both the Grade 3 Iroquois and Grade 2 Saratoga Special in 2017. He split the field in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.  Hall of Fame rider and winner of the 2010 Sunland Derby (Gr. III) Robby Albarado is the jockey. Hollywood Star is listed at 6-1 odds. Romans also sends Jerome Stakes runner-up Seven Trumpets. Luis Contreras rides the 6-1 shot.

Drayden Van Dyke will ride Peace for trainer Richard Mandella. The Violence colt is listed at 12-1 odds.

Jerry Hollendorfer has listed Kentucky Derby winning rider Mario Gutierrez to pilot Choo Choo (8-1 odds).

Local hopes rest with Todd Fincher’s Runway Ghost. The Ghostzapper colt was a runway winner of the $100,000 Riley Allison Derby and finished second to Reride in the $100,000 Mine That Bird Derby. Tracy Hebert rides the winner of $163,510. He is listed at 8-1 odds.

Here is the field in post-position order:

1. All Out Blitz – Martin Garcia, 4-1.
2. Dark Vader – Stewart Elliott, 15-1.
3. New York Central – Ricardo Santana, Jr., 9-2.
4. Hollywood Star – Robby Albarado, 6-1.
5. Peace – Drayden Van Dyke, 12-1.
6. Shane Zain – Terry Thompson, 15-1.
7. Prince Lucky – John Velazquez 6-1.
8. Seven Trumpets – Luis Contreras, 6-1.
9. Choo Choo – Mario Gutierrez, 8-1.
10. Dream Baby Dream – Alfredo Juarez, Jr., 10-1.
11. Runaway Ghost – Tracy Hebert, 8-1.
12. Fortified Effort – Ry Eikleberry, 20-1

The Sunland Derby (Gr. III)  winner receives 50 points to the Kentucky Derby. Second place earns 20 points. Third place gets 10 points and fourth place earns 5 points.

The Sunland Derby (Gr. III) day card will feature a bonanza of stakes races worth over $1.5 million. The impressive undercard presents the $200,000 Sunland Park Oaks, $100,000 Bill Thomas Memorial Stakes, $100,000 Harry Henson Handicap, $100,000 New Mexico State University Handicap, $100,000 New Mexico Breeders’ Derby and $100,000 New Mexico Breeders’ Oaks.

The Sunland Derby (Gr. III)  is the 11th race in a 12 race program. First post is 12:30 p.m. Central Time. The Sunland Derby (Gr. III) goes at 5:15 p.m.

-- Sunland Park publicity and news services contributed to this report

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