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The two controversial TD calls

BestFeature : 2/5/2018 7:16 pm
I apologize if this is tin foil hat territory. BUT, with the bad PR that the refs have gotten all season, particularly in two games favoring the Patriots, any chance that both calls were made in part for PR purposes? To be fair I thought at least the second one was a good call. I think the first one was a bobble.
Yes  
ThatLimerickGuy : 2/5/2018 7:24 pm : link
100% that if either call was in a week 9 Titans Jags game that they would have been overturned.

The Clement one was obvious. He didn't secure the ball until after the first foot hit and it came down on the White after that. It was turning in his hands we see that all of the time ruled a non catch. Al and Chris were incredulous.

The Ertz one SHOULD be a catch but the NFL doesnt interpret the rule that way in practice. The Steelers got jobbed on that exact thing.

Imagine casual non football watchers at parties trying to understand why either isn't a TD. Now couple it with the huge ratings hit and the NFL desire for scoring and TDs and a scandal free game.

It's clear as day.
Both were Legit TDs  
GeoMan999 : 2/5/2018 7:32 pm : link
On the one, Ertz was a runner as he took several steps so when he went over the goal line it was a TD.

The Clement one was a little trickier, but he retained possession throughout.
The Ertz one  
PaulBlakeTSU : 2/5/2018 7:34 pm : link
was an obvious touchdown and much, MUCH different from al the other "going to the ground" plays that were reviewed during the season (Jesse James, Sterling Sheppard).
RE: The Ertz one  
kelsto811 : 2/5/2018 7:36 pm : link
In comment 13822893 PaulBlakeTSU said:
Quote:
was an obvious touchdown and much, MUCH different from al the other "going to the ground" plays that were reviewed during the season (Jesse James, Sterling Sheppard).


Exactly. Ertz was a runner and broke the plane. James literally caught the ball, fell, and dropped the ball all in one motion
They were only controversial  
fivehead : 2/5/2018 7:38 pm : link
in Collinsworth's mind. He must have had money on the Patriots.
The fact we're even talking about the Ertz play  
81_Great_Dane : 2/5/2018 7:40 pm : link
tells you the NFL has a problem. That play isn't close. It's an obvious call. Catch, control, he's a runner, plane broken, play over, touchdown. Yet Michaels and Collinsworth are sputtering in the booth and the next day we have a thread titled "The two controversial TD calls."

There is no controversy on the Ertz play.

But it seems like nobody understands the rules anymore.
I honestly think the rules are pretty clear  
kelsto811 : 2/5/2018 7:42 pm : link
But the real question is going to be what change makes the most sense for the NFL? They will clearly have to make a change as they've been backed into a corner. People want it to be more simple. What change makes sense?
RE: Both were Legit TDs  
djstat : 2/5/2018 7:59 pm : link
In comment 13822891 GeoMan999 said:
Quote:
On the one, Ertz was a runner as he took several steps so when he went over the goal line it was a TD.

The Clement one was a little trickier, but he retained possession throughout.
Agreed Ertz caught the ball at the five and ran five yards
RE: RE: The Ertz one  
ThatLimerickGuy : 2/5/2018 8:02 pm : link
In comment 13822895 kelsto811 said:
Quote:
In comment 13822893 PaulBlakeTSU said:


Quote:


was an obvious touchdown and much, MUCH different from al the other "going to the ground" plays that were reviewed during the season (Jesse James, Sterling Sheppard).



Exactly. Ertz was a runner and broke the plane. James literally caught the ball, fell, and dropped the ball all in one motion


Except the rule says the player needs to make a "football move" to establish control. What does that mean? The precedent was always full control through the ground if done in the motion of making a catch. That's why Jesse James wasn't a catch.

The rule DOESNT say take 1.5 stumbling steps while catching.

Mind you I personally think both should be catches but that's not how they have interpreted that rule at all.

Clement didn't have clear possession/control until VERY late in the process. The rule has again consistently been interpreted. If the ball is moving around it's not controlled.
RE: RE: RE: The Ertz one  
kelsto811 : 2/5/2018 8:21 pm : link
In comment 13822918 ThatLimerickGuy said:
Quote:
In comment 13822895 kelsto811 said:


Quote:


In comment 13822893 PaulBlakeTSU said:


Quote:


was an obvious touchdown and much, MUCH different from al the other "going to the ground" plays that were reviewed during the season (Jesse James, Sterling Sheppard).



Exactly. Ertz was a runner and broke the plane. James literally caught the ball, fell, and dropped the ball all in one motion



Except the rule says the player needs to make a "football move" to establish control. What does that mean? The precedent was always full control through the ground if done in the motion of making a catch. That's why Jesse James wasn't a catch.

The rule DOESNT say take 1.5 stumbling steps while catching.

Mind you I personally think both should be catches but that's not how they have interpreted that rule at all.

Clement didn't have clear possession/control until VERY late in the process. The rule has again consistently been interpreted. If the ball is moving around it's not controlled.


"Football move" doesn't exist anymore

Quote:
As Pereira noted, the term "football move" has now been removed entirely from the list of qualifications necessary for the official to rule a catch complete.


Also Ertz had possession all the way through each step up to crossing the plane
RE: They were only controversial  
Stan in LA : 2/5/2018 8:26 pm : link
In comment 13822898 fivehead said:
Quote:
in Collinsworth's mind. He must have had money on the Patriots.

Yes, he seemed excited when the Pats scored and subdued when the Eagles scored. Hummm...
I didn't think there was any doubt that both were TDs  
Matt M. : 2/5/2018 8:26 pm : link
There is no way either should have been overturned, in my opinion.
Ertz caught the ball at the 6.5 yard line  
twostepgiants : 2/5/2018 8:47 pm : link
How on Earth would that not be a catch?
That  
liteamorn : 2/5/2018 8:51 pm : link
Helmet to helmet hit on Cooks seemed a little funky though.
RE: Ertz caught the ball at the 6.5 yard line  
ThatLimerickGuy : 2/5/2018 8:57 pm : link
In comment 13822953 twostepgiants said:
Quote:
How on Earth would that not be a catch?


Ask Dez Bryant.
They were not controversial  
5BowlsSoon : 2/5/2018 9:24 pm : link
They were both catches plain and simple. Heck, Ertz ran five yards and those dove to go,over.
Limerick, Exactly....Dez Bryant was exactly the same .......  
George from PA : 2/5/2018 9:30 pm : link
A couple of steps and reach into end zone
Dez  
ThatLimerickGuy : 2/5/2018 9:37 pm : link



Remember that this basically cost them an appearance in the NFC Championship so it's not like it was a random mid season call.

RE: Limerick, Exactly....Dez Bryant was exactly the same .......  
kelsto811 : 2/5/2018 9:50 pm : link
In comment 13823030 George from PA said:
Quote:
A couple of steps and reach into end zone


If I'm not mistaken, this play was one of the reasons they changed the rule though
Why exactly did the NFL change the catch rule, again?  
an_idol_mind : 2/5/2018 9:52 pm : link
What was so bad about possession + 2 feet down = a catch?
The problem is,  
Doomster : 2/5/2018 10:07 pm : link
the way the rules are written, they are too vague and open to interpretation....

When does a receiver become a runner? Does he have to run for a finite time or take so many steps? It's never explained......

Football move? What the hell constitutes that? Has that ever been defined in the rules?

Watching the two td's, the Ertz td is cut and dried.....

The other is up in the air.....what is possession? Can the ball move? The ball obviously moved as his foot hit the out of bounds line......so obviously the ball can move?

What about the fumble the previous week? Myles Jack takes the ball away from Lewis and it's a fumble recovery....Lewis is hit by Jack, the ball moves, but it slides down his leg, with his arm still on it, and his knee touches the ground....after he hits the ground then it comes loose.....after review, they determined he did not have possession because the ball was moving, and they called it a recovered fumble.....in both cases the ball moved, and yet one is called a possession and the other is not.....

So now we have to have a clear definition of what possession is? This is getting insane....
RE: RE: RE: The Ertz one  
Gatorade Dunk : 2/5/2018 10:07 pm : link
In comment 13822918 ThatLimerickGuy said:
Quote:
In comment 13822895 kelsto811 said:


Quote:


In comment 13822893 PaulBlakeTSU said:


Quote:


was an obvious touchdown and much, MUCH different from al the other "going to the ground" plays that were reviewed during the season (Jesse James, Sterling Sheppard).



Exactly. Ertz was a runner and broke the plane. James literally caught the ball, fell, and dropped the ball all in one motion



Except the rule says the player needs to make a "football move" to establish control. What does that mean? The precedent was always full control through the ground if done in the motion of making a catch. That's why Jesse James wasn't a catch.

The rule DOESNT say take 1.5 stumbling steps while catching.

Mind you I personally think both should be catches but that's not how they have interpreted that rule at all.

Clement didn't have clear possession/control until VERY late in the process. The rule has again consistently been interpreted. If the ball is moving around it's not controlled.

He wasn't stumbling.

Link - ( New Window )
I thought the Ertz call was clearly correct.  
Section331 : 2/5/2018 10:20 pm : link
He was a runner at the point he lost control. The Clement TD was much less clear. I thought he bobbled the ball between his 2 inbound steps, but I also donít think it was clear enough to overturn the call on the field.

Weíve bitched all year about overturning plays that werenít clearly wrong calls, so we shouldnít complain when they do it the right way, even if it helps the fucking Eagles.
RE: They were only controversial  
5BowlsSoon : 2/5/2018 10:25 pm : link
In comment 13822898 fivehead said:
Quote:
in Collinsworth's mind. He must have had money on the Patriots.


Bingo.
To the letter of the rules  
trueblueinpw : 2/5/2018 10:38 pm : link
I donít think either was a TD. I thought Clement was an easy reversal because he very clearly did not possess the ball with two feet in bounds. I was very surprised that wasnít overturned. The Ertz play seemed more like a TD in the spirit of the game, but again, not to the letter of the rules.

To me though, the really vexing thing is that replay isnít making any of these calls better or more definitive. I say get rid of the every scoring play reviews and just give the coaches one challenge per game. Officiating can and always will be part of the game. The sacrifice in speed and spontaneous enjoyment is not worth the delays in the game if replay isnít going to be more accurate.
RE: To the letter of the rules  
Eman11 : 2/5/2018 11:13 pm : link
In comment 13823102 trueblueinpw said:
Quote:
I donít think either was a TD. I thought Clement was an easy reversal because he very clearly did not possess the ball with two feet in bounds. I was very surprised that wasnít overturned. The Ertz play seemed more like a TD in the spirit of the game, but again, not to the letter of the rules.

To me though, the really vexing thing is that replay isnít making any of these calls better or more definitive. I say get rid of the every scoring play reviews and just give the coaches one challenge per game. Officiating can and always will be part of the game. The sacrifice in speed and spontaneous enjoyment is not worth the delays in the game if replay isnít going to be more accurate.


The Ertz play was clearly a TD by the letter of the rules or any other way you want to look at it. He caught the ball and very clearly established himself as a runner. Then broke the plane while he had possession of the ball.

He wasn't going to the ground while making the catch which would have meant he had to maintain possession through contact with the ground. Further, the refs on the field ruled a TD and the call was confirmed.

Both the original call (of him becoming a runner with possession after making the catch) and not overturning it were correct to the very spirit and application of the rules.
the Ertz play  
nyynyg : 2/6/2018 12:25 am : link
was the right call. He had it and he crossed the plane of goal line. That said, with the rules, I would also not have been surprised if they called that an extension of the catch and called in incomplete.

That said, I honestly have no idea what the refs were looking at on the Clement play (or how many here can say that was a catch). It was clear as day shifting in and into his other arm. The first step, he did not have possession. And his second step after possession, he stepped on the white. It was the easiest open and cut reversal.

Many teams, including the Giants at the beginning of the year, have been robbed on this maintaining possession and continuation. The fact the refs did not reverse the first TD is a mystery. Collinsworth was right to say "I give up", he said that because he commentates on a ton of games and that one was a clear cut as they come.
RE: Yes  
You'reMyBoyBlue!! : 2/6/2018 1:56 am : link
In comment 13822882 ThatLimerickGuy said:
Quote:
100% that if either call was in a week 9 Titans Jags game that they would have been overturned.

The Ertz one SHOULD be a catch but the NFL doesnt interpret the rule that way in practice. The Steelers got jobbed on that exact thing.



You and an incredible amount of people are just completely wrong on this (including the analyst of the game, a usually solid Collinsworth). Yes there have been controversial going to the ground "catch" calls. This isn't one of them. This isn't the James play. This isn't the Dez play where he was simultaneously in the act of "catching" the ball while also falling to the ground.

This was a clear catch where he gained possession of the ball and became a runner. At that point, the second "a runner" crosses the goal line, it's a TD.

It amazes me how many people don't get this
The first call, I have no idea  
St. Jimmy : 2/6/2018 5:15 am : link
how that is a catch unless the play ended before he bobbled it. Maybe the bobble was viewed as a football move in preparation for ground survival.

The Ertz catch was a catch accept when discussing with Eagle fans. The only problem with it is if it had been ruled incomplete because the the ref didn't see a football move or he felt like calling it incomplete, they probably would not have reversed the call.

Ultimately, the NFL probably realized the "catch rule" ruined their season and didn't want it to be the big story after the Superbowl so they probably weren't overturning any call in the game unless it was a really bad call.
I thought replay officials finally got it right  
jeff57 : 2/6/2018 5:54 am : link
There has to be clear evidence to overturn, There was none on either. I thought both were TDs.
The thing with Clement  
Matt M. : 2/6/2018 6:32 am : link
do you think there was definitive evidence to overturn the call? That is the key. You may think it was a catch or not, but it was called a catch and TD. That means there must be no doubt via replay in order to overturn. I don't think that's the case.

Personally, I viewed it as he had control of the ball the full time. He didn't bobble or lose control of the ball when shifting it to complete the catch. I say he controlled the ball. If you say he didn't, can you say definitively that he didn't? I don't think you can either way, which means the call on the field stands.
I think that part of the problem is context  
Bill L : 2/6/2018 7:16 am : link
we've seen and lived through the Shepard noon-catch and the OBJ non-catch. Both of those were better quality receptions than what were called catches on Sunday. It's more the consistency than the absolute.
Regardless...  
FatMan in Charlotte : 2/6/2018 8:25 am : link
if you believe this or not, that play has been consistently overturned this year with the slightest of ball movement:

Quote:
The thing with Clement
Matt M. : 6:32 am : link : reply
do you think there was definitive evidence to overturn the call? That is the key. You may think it was a catch or not, but it was called a catch and TD. That means there must be no doubt via replay in order to overturn. I don't think that's the case.


I wish I could find a link to the Kelvin Benjamin TD vs. the Pats that was overturned. Greg Olsen had a similar play. There are several out there. Heck, even Leonard Fournette had a call reversed because of the ball shifting in his arms

The whole surviving the ground bullshit needs to stop too. Ertz clearly got feet down, but Sterling Shepard took 3 steps in the end zone and was ruled incomplete.

I like the fact both were called TD's. It shouldn't have taken the biggest stage of the year to get them to finally use common sense though.
Sheppard  
PaulBlakeTSU : 2/6/2018 8:41 am : link
was going to the ground as he was trying to secure the catch. That is why he had to maintain control of the ball throughout going to the ground.

Ertz secured the ball, both feet in bounds, upright and balanced, turned upfield, was able to prepare for an oncoming hit, and ran towards the end zone when he was clipped by the defender and then crossed the plane.
there was a very clear shot  
fkap : 2/6/2018 8:43 am : link
of Clements bobbling the ball and foot placement. That should have been overturned, IMO. opinions may vary, making it a true controversial call.

On the second one, you can see why people might want a second look, but it's obviously a catch, run, and crossing the plane. TD, and only those with bias would find it controversial.
Ertz TD was clearly good, he was a runner who took three steps  
JonC : 2/6/2018 8:48 am : link
and then leaped for the endzone.

The first TD is a prime example of what the NFL had been overturning all season long, a clear bobble and no re-control of the ball before touching the rear boundary.

If that was a TD, then many incorrect calls were made all season long.
But..  
FatMan in Charlotte : 2/6/2018 8:51 am : link
the surviving the ground rule sucks:

Quote:
Sheppard
PaulBlakeTSU : 8:41 am : link : reply
was going to the ground as he was trying to secure the catch. That is why he had to maintain control of the ball throughout going to the ground.


I don't think a player taking three steps without a bobble of the ball should necessitate maintaining it. Three steps should establish possession no matter if you go to the ground or not.
RE: Why exactly did the NFL change the catch rule, again?  
Scyber : 2/6/2018 9:06 am : link
In comment 13823064 an_idol_mind said:
Quote:
What was so bad about possession + 2 feet down = a catch?


Technically that is the current rule. All of the complexity involved is trying to define exactly what possession is.
RE: The fact we're even talking about the Ertz play  
widmerseyebrow : 2/6/2018 9:42 am : link
In comment 13822902 81_Great_Dane said:
Quote:
tells you the NFL has a problem. That play isn't close. It's an obvious call. Catch, control, he's a runner, plane broken, play over, touchdown. Yet Michaels and Collinsworth are sputtering in the booth and the next day we have a thread titled "The two controversial TD calls."

There is no controversy on the Ertz play.

But it seems like nobody understands the rules anymore.


Exactly this. I didn't watch much football this year, but I assume they must have really screwed the pooch all year for that play to even be under scrutiny from long time posters here, let alone professional announcers.
RE: RE: RE: The Ertz one  
fbdad : 2/6/2018 10:51 am : link



Except the rule says the player needs to make a "football move" to establish control. What does that mean?


Pretty sure the "football move" language has been removed from the rule this year.
Canít wait to see the changes  
5BowlsSoon : 2/6/2018 11:10 am : link
I agree with one poster, the old rule was pretty good...why did they change it?
RE: RE: RE: RE: The Ertz one  
Eman11 : 2/6/2018 11:26 am : link
In comment 13823445 fbdad said:
Quote:



Except the rule says the player needs to make a "football move" to establish control. What does that mean?


Pretty sure the "football move" language has been removed from the rule this year.


Exactly. There is no " football move " in the rule anymore. It's been replaced by "establish himself as a runner" which is a bit more exact in what they're looking for in a completion.

A football move leaves a lot open for interpretation by an official where now it's just was he a runner or falling to the ground?
re: Ertz  
ThatLimerickGuy : 2/6/2018 12:25 pm : link
A lot of people are saying a lot of things on this thread without looking at that Dez .gif I posted above.

Catch - CHECK! Ertz and Dez

Two Feet- CHECK! Ertz and Dez

Stumble / Three feet down-in process of catch- CHECK! Ertz and Dez

The ONLY difference is that Ertz broke the plan before he lost control- BUT- remember the ruling on Dez was that you need to complete the process through the ground for it to be a catch. That has nothing to do with the goal line.

Again- I think both of these SHOULD be catches but by rule neither is, and the precedent has been set over and over with this dumb through the ground rule as mentioned with Dez, Jesse James and tons of other calls.

The Clement one was just ridiculous he didn't secure the ball until very very late in the process- it was moving around in his grasp.

The NFL made a business decision to let those 2 calls stand. Anyone who thinks otherwise doesn't pay attention to how the refs typically enforce those rules.




RE: Why exactly did the NFL change the catch rule, again?  
Thegratefulhead : 2/6/2018 12:58 pm : link
In comment 13823064 an_idol_mind said:
Quote:
What was so bad about possession + 2 feet down = a catch?
There were many cheesy fumbles that should have been incomplete passes.
The Clement call needs to be explained  
mrvax : 2/6/2018 1:02 pm : link
He did possess the ball the whole time but the damn DUKE was moving slightly when his left foot touched the line. Is slight ball movement allowed?
Sorry if discussed elsewhere  
Mike in Philly : 2/6/2018 1:08 pm : link
but what about this missed call on the Foles TD?
RE: Sorry if discussed elsewhere  
Eman11 : 2/6/2018 2:01 pm : link
In comment 13823738 Mike in Philly said:
Quote:
but what about this missed call on the Foles TD?


It's been pointed out Jeffrey is close enough to the line for it to be ok. Seems if it was called this close it could be called countless times in a game. He appears to be within a yard of the line,and there's some leeway there for the refs and WR's.

He also signaled to the linesman on that side like most receivers do to be sure he's lined up ok, and was told he's good. While technically he could be seen to be illegal, if he checked and was told he's good, then he was.

RE: re: Ertz  
Eman11 : 2/6/2018 2:05 pm : link
In comment 13823651 ThatLimerickGuy said:
Quote:
A lot of people are saying a lot of things on this thread without looking at that Dez .gif I posted above.

Catch - CHECK! Ertz and Dez

Two Feet- CHECK! Ertz and Dez

Stumble / Three feet down-in process of catch- CHECK! Ertz and Dez

The ONLY difference is that Ertz broke the plan before he lost control- BUT- remember the ruling on Dez was that you need to complete the process through the ground for it to be a catch. That has nothing to do with the goal line.

Again- I think both of these SHOULD be catches but by rule neither is, and the precedent has been set over and over with this dumb through the ground rule as mentioned with Dez, Jesse James and tons of other calls.

The Clement one was just ridiculous he didn't secure the ball until very very late in the process- it was moving around in his grasp.

The NFL made a business decision to let those 2 calls stand. Anyone who thinks otherwise doesn't pay attention to how the refs typically enforce those rules.





What you're missing on the Ertz play unlike the Dez one is Ertz was ruled to have established himself as a runner and wasn't stumbling. That was upheld on replay. He clearly established himself as a runner before going to the ground.

With Dez, it was ruled on replay that he was stumbling and not running, making him have to control the ball through contact with the ground.

That's what makes these plays different.
The Ertz call..  
FatMan in Charlotte : 2/6/2018 2:16 pm : link
is fine. The only debate is really if he became a runner and when he was contacted. I hate that there have been similar plays ruled differently, but overturning that call was unlikely.

But the Clement TD is 100% unacceptable based on the standard we've seen this year. The Kelvin Benjamin play that was overturned from being a TD was a play where a boblle wasn't even visible and they changed the call.

On this one, the ball is definitely moving and they let it stand.

The issue is twofold - the complex rules of what constitutes a catch, and the inconsistency in ruling the catch, both in real time and on review.

We've even seen a wide range of interpretation on surviving the ground, including an interpretation that rules a play a TD when a defender ends up fully in possession of the ball. We've seen three steps and then the ball come loose called an incomplete pass. We've seen a lot of strange shit this year and all the Super Bowl did was confirm that consistency isn't a strong point when enforcing rules.
RE: The Ertz call..  
Eman11 : 2/6/2018 2:35 pm : link
In comment 13823877 FatMan in Charlotte said:
Quote:
is fine. The only debate is really if he became a runner and when he was contacted. I hate that there have been similar plays ruled differently, but overturning that call was unlikely.

But the Clement TD is 100% unacceptable based on the standard we've seen this year. The Kelvin Benjamin play that was overturned from being a TD was a play where a boblle wasn't even visible and they changed the call.

On this one, the ball is definitely moving and they let it stand.

The issue is twofold - the complex rules of what constitutes a catch, and the inconsistency in ruling the catch, both in real time and on review.

We've even seen a wide range of interpretation on surviving the ground, including an interpretation that rules a play a TD when a defender ends up fully in possession of the ball. We've seen three steps and then the ball come loose called an incomplete pass. We've seen a lot of strange shit this year and all the Super Bowl did was confirm that consistency isn't a strong point when enforcing rules.


Totally agree with you on the comparison to the Benjamin play. In fact while they were reviewing the Clement play, I brought that up to friends and said they'll overturn it based on how much like the Benjamin play I thought it was.

The ball moving was actually clearer in the replays of the Clement
play than the Benjamin one, and I still don't know how they could reverse one and not the other.
Yep..  
FatMan in Charlotte : 2/6/2018 2:52 pm : link
both were called TD's on the field. To my eyes, Benjamin didn't appear to ever have the ball move and yet it was overturned. The Clement play, the ball visibly moved.
RE: Yep..  
Eman11 : 2/6/2018 5:29 pm : link
In comment 13823934 FatMan in Charlotte said:
Quote:
both were called TD's on the field. To my eyes, Benjamin didn't appear to ever have the ball move and yet it was overturned. The Clement play, the ball visibly moved.


100% agreed.

My biggest issue isn't so much them letting it stand but the inconsistency of how they reach their final decision. To me those plays were about as identical as two plays could be and yet they were reviewed and then ruled differently.

Why were there more high profile issues with calls this year?  
BestFeature : 2/6/2018 6:09 pm : link
Seems like more than in previous years. I don't believe that the rule has changed, has it?
ThatLimerickGuy  
PaulBlakeTSU : 2/6/2018 6:27 pm : link
you are ignoring a huge difference between the Bryant an Ertz plays.

Bryant jumped up in mid-air to make the acrobatic catch, and then as he came down, his momentum going forward combined with his legs tangling with the Packers CB caused him to immediately stumble to the ground.

Ertz caught a ball across the middle while in stride, balanced, and upright with total body control (i.e. not going to the ground when he caught it), he then became a runner and then was clipped/dove crossing the plane before coughing up the ball as he hit the ground.

The two plays aren't comparable. Bryant was going to the ground as soon as he landed. He had to complete the catch through the ground.
The catch rule  
PaulBlakeTSU : 2/6/2018 6:40 pm : link
isn't even complex. It's just that it's otherwise impossible to define a catch. Football is so high-speed in terms of impact, and video evidence is so high-tech that there isn't a clean way to define possession.

As much as people like to see "two feet and teh ball not moving," that too would create absolute chaos because we can't have it such that evry bang-bang play is a fumble.

Watch this play from a Michigan game and imagine it were the pros.

By requiring nothing more "possession" to mean the ball not moving and two feet, this would be a catch and a fumble. That's insane.

Even worse, the fumble would be considered "ground caused" because he already had possession and so it would be considered a completion and a dead ball.

Also, every time a player makes an unsuccessful diving catch, it will be a catch and fumble so long as the ball was secure in his hands before hitting the ground. Because as soon as the player hits the ground, even if the ball is dislodged instantly, there will still be a split second freeze frame where the player has the ball in his hands and a knee or elbow touching the ground making it a catch.


Because of these issues, the League has to add additional criteria to define a catch, which it is constantly tweaking to find the best definition they can.
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