How many feet need to be in bounds when making a catch?

This is one of those questions that has two different answers. The number of feet in bounds is different between NCAA and NFL football rules.

How many feet need to be in bounds in college football?

In college, a receiver only needs to have one foot in bounds in order for the catch to count. In almost every college game, this becomes an important ruling on one or more plays and can turn momentum for or against your team with the ruling.  It’s one of the most common plays to go to video replay review.  Here’s the simple definition of a catch.

A catch is made when the player secures control of the live ball in flight (before it touches the ground) in bounds with any part of his body.

How many feet need to be in bounds in the NFL?

how many feet in bounds to make a catch
In professional football,  a receiver is required to have both feet in bounds. That’s why they sometimes look funny when they are making a catch trying to drag both of their toes in bounds before they fall out of bounds!

Additional facts to help you look smarter than the rest (NCAA and NFL)

Pushed out of bounds

If a receiver in professional football is pushed out of bounds by the defense prior to getting both feet in, the referee can make the call that he would have come down in bounds and give him the catch. In college football, this is not the case.



Does it have to be feet in bounds?

Although the rule is ‘two feet in bounds’ for professional football to be a catch, it can also be any other body part (other than hands as they are like feet) to be considered in bounds. So, if a receiver in professional football jumps up and makes the catch and falls on his butt before going out of bounds and neither of his feet touch in bounds, that would also be considered a catch.

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