NFL news & notes


ROGER GOODELL

Commish wants probe of league’s catch rule

MINNEAPOLIS

Roger Goodell wants to see the mystery of the NFL’s catch rule solved, and he’s ensured that the process has begun.

The commissioner said at his annual Super Bowl news conference Wednesday that he personally sees that rule as the most obvious to address.

Asked about the scrutiny that NFL officiating came under this season, Goodell said “on the catch/no catch rule, we need to find a rule we think will address that. We certainly need to get this rule right so everyone can appreciate.”

Goodell recently spent three hours with former players, including Pro Football Hall of Famers, going over 150 plays. He said there were many good ideas offered, but as for the specifics of what should be a catch, there was little consensus.

“There were a lot of people with different perspectives and lot of disagreement in the room,” he said.

So the competition committee will dive into not only this rule, but perhaps refining the rulebook.

“I would like to start back, instead of adding to the rule, subtracting the rule. Start over again and look at the rule fundamentally from the start. Because I think when you add or subtract things you can still lead to confusion. These rules are very complex; you have to look at what the unintended consequences are of making a change, which is what the competition committee, in my view, does so well and with so much thought.

“Clearly, the catch/no catch has had a lot of discussion. I won’t tell you there won’t be controversy (in the future), but we need to get to a better place.”

TV

Fox gets Thursday football for 5 years

BLOOMINGTON, MINN.

Fox and the NFL have agreed to a five-year deal for Thursday night football games.

Those games previously were televised by CBS and NBC, two of the league’s other network partners. But Fox announced Wednesday that it will televise 11 games between Weeks 4 and 15, with simulcasts on NFL Network and Fox Deportes.

Fox, which has the Sunday afternoon NFC package, will produce all of the games.

“This is a single partner deal, we are not splitting the package,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said. “We had tremendous amount of interest from all the broadcast partners, all of whom wanted it exclusively. We felt this was the best opportunity for the NFL to grow the Thursday night package.”

The NFL has broadcast deals “five years out” with its other partners — ESPN has the Monday night package — so five years on this agreement made sense.

CBS and NBC each paid $450 million for the previous two-year package.

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

Gronkowski says he expects to play Sunday

BLOOMINGTON, MINN.

New England Patriots star tight end Rob Gronkowski says he expects to play in Sunday’s Super Bowl against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Gronkowski has been in the league’s concussion protocol after taking a hit from Jacksonville’s Barry Church in the AFC championship game. He made his first public appearance on Tuesday night while playing former teammate and current Eagles running back LeGarrette Blount in a game of “Madden 18” at the Mall of America.

Gronkowski said he’s still in the concussion protocol and would leave his status up to those in charge of making medical decisions.

“Hopefully by (Wednesday),” he said. “We’ll see how it goes. I’m not the guy to say I’m out of the protocol. That’s the doctors’ calls.”

Associated Press

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