After heated debate over what a catch was in 2015, the NFL has released the new verbiage for the catch rule in 2016.
So what is a catch in 2016? These three actions must happen for it to be considered a catch.
1. Ball is secure.
2. Player is in bounds.
3. Receiver maintains control long enough to become a runner.
To become a runner in 2016, a receiver must have possession after his second foot hits the ground, and at that point he must be “capable of avoiding or warding off impending contact of an opponent, tucking the ball away, turning up field, or taking additional steps.”
If the player goes to the ground before establishing himself as a runner the rule now says: “[He] must maintain control of the ball until after his initial contact with the ground, whether in the field of play or the end zone. If he loses control of the ball, and the ball touches the ground before he regains control, the pass is incomplete. If he regains control prior to the ball touching the ground, the pass is complete.”