So remember the botched Fair Catch situation in the game last year where a punted ball bounced off of Jacoby Jones' chest, then Jason Mcourty caught it, ran in to the end zone and received a 15 yard penalty that let the Texans keep possession? Good times.
Well Fisher, a longtime member of the competition committee said that, while the ruling followed the letter of the law, it needed to be reviewed because it just didn't pass the eyeball test. Lots of people who followed the NFL though the rule needed to be changed because it doesn't make any sense when put into the flow of the game. If a receiving team's player calls for a fair catch, then touches the ball ball without securing it, the damned thing should be live.
Well the competition committee reviewed it and decided that, rather than change it, they'd just clarify the reasoning for the rule and eliminate the 15 yard penalty... because the 15 yards was the issue.
If you don't follow us through the jump, you'll never know the rest of the story (what up Paul Harvey)...
Here's how The Palm Beach Post's Daily Dolphin blog summarized this rule, and the other 2010 rule changes:
4. If a punt returner signals for fair catch, muffs the punt and the ball is caught by the punting team before it hits the ground, a fair catch is awarded to the receiving team at the spot of the interference (i.e. it’s not a fumble). But the punting team is no longer penalized for attempting to catch a muffed fair catch (current penalty is too severe).
Bleeding Green Nation has video of the NFL officials demonstrating the new ruling, juts in case you need an audio-visual element to spot complete idiocy:
Now, am I a homer? Hells yes; you're not a fan if you aren't a homer to some extent. But, that doesn't matter one bit here. I don't care how you position it, the rule should be that once a returner touches the ball, it's live. Why in the world is it the punting team's obligation to make sure the receiver gets multiple opportunities to catch the ball? They're already immune from being hit before they touch it, so why the extra advantage?