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NFL Owners Get Rid of Force Out Rule


National Football League receivers will no longer be credited with a catch if they are forced out of bounds by a defender, team owners agreed today at the completion of their annual meeting.

The change means an official no longer has the discretion of determining whether an offensive player would have made the catch had he not been forced out of bounds. Officials now only have to determine whether a receiver landed inbounds.

Team owners, meeting in Palm Beach, Florida, agreed that defenders, too, must have both feet inbounds to intercept another team's pass under the rule change.

I mentioned this rule about a year ago as one of the worst rules in the NFL. I never understood why this rule was originally put in place. It stood only to punish good defense. The "force out" rule now only applies if a defender literally carries the receiver out of bounds.

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