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FCFL Founders, with Grant Cohen

The FCFL will soon kick off and launch a new era in the professional sports landscape; one where the very foundation of league operations and fandom are completely flipped, and power is turned over to the fans who truly sustain the sport with their energy, passion, and dollars. But while the implementation of such a flipped model of management (no longer done behind closed doors by an elite few, but rather very publicly by a decentralized vote) is a brand new to the world, its origins have been in the works for several years.

For today’s featured co-founder, we turn our attention to the digital dude himself who first stumbled upon the idea that would eventually birth the technology behind the FCFL (while drinking at a bar with friends, of course): Mr. Grant Cohen.

In case you couldn’t tell, Grant is a bit of a University of Miami Hurricanes fan, having graduated from THE U himself in 2003, where he got his degree in media management. From there, he was unleashed upon the world of digital media and cellular devices (way back before Apple was even selling phones).

Grant started his career in the wireless space by managing marketing for AskMeNow, the most popular app in the world at the time running on connected Blackberry and Palm Pilot devices (millennials, ask your parents). He also served management roles for Ad Infuse, a mobile ad network backed by Softbank that was acquired by Velti in 2009.

Following the acquisition, Grant stayed on at Velti for several years while simultaneously pursuing other projects, including co-founding a native mobile ad business called ChirpAds. That business would acquire and merge with a company called PlayHaven as part of a greater sale to Science Inc. in 2014.

Grant has also served managing and consulting roles at mobile tech companies like OpenX and GradientX, and worked on the executive team of Kochava, where he has operated as the GM of the Kochava Collective: the world’s largest independent mobile data marketplace.

The idea for fan-controlled sports first entered Grant’s consciousness way back in 2008, when he launched Project Franchise – then focused on a baseball product (Grant nearly purchased a minor league baseball team in Texas back in the day to test out his inner Veeck). That idea would morph into Project Fanchise, which then led to the Salt Lake Screaming Eagles, who took the field in the Indoor Football League in 2017 as the world’s first fan-run professional football team.

Next step: the FCFL, where Grant spearheads our Digital growth. He’s kind of a big deal.

A California kid who grew up down the street from Mr. Cool himself, Joe Montana, Grant wore Niners gold throughout his childhood while cheering for one of the NFL’s greatest dynasties. He then left for Miami only to encounter another historic gridiron dynasty: the early-2000s Canes, led by Ed Reed, Sean Taylor, Clinton Portis, and too many other stars to count. His sports allegiances cross the Bay Area, so he has continued to play witness as a fan to dynastic dominance, including the San Francisco Giants (and their MadBum-fueled string of titles) and, of course, the current Golden State Warriors, who are making a strong case as the greatest NBA team ever assembled.

He also sometimes hangs out with The Playmaker aka Michael Irvin.

Safe to say that, when the FCFL kicks off its first season, you might want to pick whichever team Grant is cheering for. Golly, that’s a lot of winning.

A word to future FCFL players: Grant has been known to sprint into the end zone for flying chest bumps, as he did following a game-winning touchdown and two-point conversion during a Screaming Eagles game last season.

Keep your heads on a swivel…

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The Most Famous Fans in Sports

With the creation of FAN Token, which will fuel internal economies of decentralized professional sports league economies starting with the Fan Controlled Football League, the power of blockchain is being unleashed to turn passive fans into active contributors to their team’s success. FCFL fans will manage everything from personnel, to team branding, to scouting opponents, and of course calling plays in real time. Since FAN Token will be driving these interactions, we will have a transparent view into the successes and failures of every single decision made by each fan.

How many yards did your run plays yield? How many touchdowns came from passing plays you called? Did your trade proposal get accepted and subsequently provide a boost to your team’s defensive production? We will be swimming in fan-centric data, and the results will be highly publicized. The best fans will be rewarded for their efforts (with both weekly recognition and, most prominently, a cut of the $1 Million purse that goes to the league champion).

FAN Token will help create a revolution in how we think of the role of the fan, and with our public Fan Leaderboard, the “best” fans (or those who demonstrate the strongest aptitude in their given sport) will be as well-recognized as the players themselves.

But our fans won’t be the first prominent supporters of professional sports. Through the years, there have been several passionate supporters who have gained recognition for their fandom, for myriad reasons. Who might these folks be?

Let’s take a look:

Spike Lee

Perhaps no fan is as strongly associated with a professional sports league (and in particular, one organization) as Spike Lee is with the NBA and the New York Knicks. In recent years, the Knicks’ utter ineptitude as a franchise has rendered Spike’s prominence as a fan a bit less influential, but make no mistake, during the 1990s, Spike Lee WAS the New York Knicks – as important a figure as any individual outside of Patrick Ewing – and his nightly court-side seats guaranteed him ample face time on the television broadcast.

Spike Lee was such an influential presence in the 1990s that many credit him (or rather, blame him) for Reggie Miller’s miraculous performance to beat the Knicks in the 1995 Eastern Conference Finals. Spike’s constant trash talk sparked Miller to go on an historic run and singlehandedly take down New York. The feud would later be featured in the ESPN 30 for 30 film Winning Time.

Runner up for prominent NBA fan goes to Jack Nicholson, who similarly has been a staple (pun intended) at Lakers games for decades, but who doesn’t quite have the same history of inserting himself into the action as does Mr. Lee.

Waaay distant runner runner up goes to Drake, who in recent years has tried very hard to integrate himself into the NBA world, but who is a notoriously flaky try-hard fan. Sorry Drake, you are no Spike.

Marlins Man

Speaking of court-side seats earning face time, no fan has acquired the immediate recognition in the era of social media quite like Marlins Man (aka Laurence Leavy), who seems to be sitting directly behind home plate of every single important MLB game (and even extends beyond baseball). His bright orange Marlins attire and visor certainly help catch the viewer’s eye as well, and his intense personal marketing campaign (and his constant acknowledgement of the troops!) help fuel something of a cult following. USA Today called him the “ubiquitous superfan.”

Marlins Man has managed to make himself a household name in baseball circles even as his favorite team continues to do seemingly everything in their power to piss off their fans. Quite an achievement, really. He recently gained some further notoriety for giving new Marlins President Derek Jeter a piece of his mind at a gathering of season ticket holders.

As famously reported by the Pardon My Take podcast (with whom Marlins Man frequently holds phone calls while in the stands at big games), Marlins Man has something of a public beef with another prominent fan – one who has earned his fame not through expensive tickets and wardrobe, but through sheer hustle, even if his shtick rubs many other fans the wrong way. That individual goes by the nom de guerre of…

Foul Ball Guy

Or Zachary Hample, according to his birth certificate. Zack claims to have collected over 10,000 baseballs from MLB games, including such historic balls as Alex Rodriguez’s 3,000th hit, Barry Bonds’s 724th career home run, and Mike Trout’s first ever home run. During the final weekend of the old Yankee Stadium, with millions of eyeballs tuned into the action, Hample managed to snag home run balls in consecutive games (from Jason Giambi and Johnny Damon) – launching him into national recognition. He has been featured on ESPN, HBO’s Real Sports, CBS, NBC, Fox, CNN, The Evening News with Katie Couric, The Rosie O’Donnell Show, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and a host of other national programs. Conan O’Brien once him during a taping of Late Night that he thought Hample was “the worst man in America.”

But he certainly does know how to snag a ball.

Sure, he is a grown man running around stealing baseballs that might otherwise go to children (often seen bumping kids out of his way), and yes, he is unabashedly full of himself… but the man flat out gets the job done. He makes more appearances on Sportscenter than Scott Van Pelt and has a preternatural sense of time and place.

If there is a significant baseball game on TV, chances are you will find Marlins Man behind home plate and Foul Ball Guy in the bleachers catching a home run.

But not all famous fans are individuals. College basketball has the Cameron Crazies, the Duke students who ditch their dorms and tent outside for months during the North Carolina winter just to snag a seat for the season finale against rival UNC. The MLB has the Lovable Losers, as Cubs fans have been known for over a century (until their recent World Series victory, of course). The original football has scores of passionate fans whose fandom literally controls their existences (and sometimes dips into outright hooliganism).

The NFL has many famous fan bases, including the social media-friendly #BillsMafia and their love for destroying plastic tables during tailgates; the Hogettes of the 1980s, a group of Washington Redskins fans who would dress up in skirts, party hats, and pig snouts to support their historic offensive line known as the “Hogs;” the “12th Man,” as Seahawks fans are described, who are known for their sheer volume of noise, most notably during Marshawn Lynch’s victory-sealing touchdown run against the Saints in the 2010 NFL playoffs known as the “Beast Quake;” and of course the infamous Black Hole of the Oakland Raiders, perhaps the most dangerous of all fan bases.

But only one fan base actually OWNS their franchise:

The Cheeseheads

 

The NFL is the most powerful professional sports league in North America, and one of its most prominent franchises somehow resides in a little town in Wisconsin called Green Bay. This remains one of the most inexplicable realities in all of sports.

The Acme Packers (named for the Acme Packing Company) joined the American Professional Football Association in 1921, before the NFL even existed. To this day, there is no harder seat to grab than a season ticket at Lambeau Field, where fans literally wait lifetimes trying to get into what is safely described as the biggest event in Green Bay.

The Packers have been a publicly-owned nonprofit since 1923, and their fans, known as the Cheeseheads for obvious reasons, can rightly claim to be the closest thing to Fan-Controlled Fans in all of professional sports…

That is, until the FCFL kicks off!

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FCFL Founders, with Ray Austin

The FCFL will soon kick off and launch a new era in the professional sports landscape; one where the very foundation of league operations and fandom are completely flipped, and power is turned over to the fans who truly sustain the sport with their energy, passion, and dollars. But while the implementation of such a flipped model of management (no longer done behind closed doors by an elite few, but rather very publicly by a decentralized vote) is a brand new to the world, its origins have been in the works for several years.

For today’s featured co-founder, we start with our resident footballer who will act as Commissioner of the FCFL: former NFL safety Ray Austin.

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Ray grew up as an Army brat, bouncing around where his family moved to be stationed. By the time he reached high school, Ray was living in Hawaii and joined the varsity football team. His running back that year, Adrian Murrell, was recruited to play at West Virginia University before moving on to the NFL for nearly a decade. He helped show Ray that football could have a serious career path if he remained dedicated, and when Ray was drafted by the New York Jets later in his life, Adrian (a Jet himself) was the first person to offer congratulations.

Later in high school, Ray moved to Lawton, Oklahoma. The first person he met there was Olympic sprinter Jason Rouser, who suggested to Ray’s father that he check out Lawton Eisenhower High School if he was interested in football. He was, and with Ray in the defensive backfield, the team won the USA Today National Championship that season. The second-ranked team was quarterbacked by a gentleman by the name of Donovan McNabb.

Ray was a two-sport All American his senior year of high school, and was actively recruited by nearly every college in the country… except for the one he most wanted to attend, the University of Tennessee. Ever the entrepreneur, Ray created his own film package and highlight tape (long before such a thing was standard practice in the prep ranks) and sent it to the coaching staff, who agreed to meet with him the next week. The rest is history.

Ray joined the Volunteers and worked his way to team captain his senior year alongside future Super Bowl winner Leonard Little, current Texas A&M running backs coach Jay Graham, and some QB named Manning, first name Peyton.

Ray was drafted in the fifth round of the 1997 NFL Draft by the New York Jets. He played in the NFL for three seasons with the Jets and the Chicago Bears, and also played for the Chicago Enforcers during the only season of the XFL in 2001.

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During his football career, Ray had the chance to play for some of the greatest coaches of the era, including legendary high school coach Tim Reynolds, National Championship-winning college coach Phillip Fulmer, Lovie Smith, Greg Schiano, John Chavis, Kevin Ramsey, and of course Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick. In fact, when Ray was drafted by the Jets, it was the assistant Belichick (who was Ray’s defensive backs coach), and not head coach Parcells, who made the selection.

In other words, the GOAT of coaching (football or otherwise) specifically targeted Ray to play in his defense. Not bad.

After his football career, Ray transitioned to life as an entrepreneur and actor/model (not the other way around). Ray has been featured in over 100 commercials for brands such as Coors, Ford, and McDonalds. He has been a member of the Screen Actors Guild for over a decade.

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Ray was working on his own startup, an application that would let fans submit their own play designs to football teams to implement into their game plans, when he was introduced to a group of other entrepreneurs looking to purchase a professional football team where fans could call the plays in real-time. So was birthed the Salt Lake Screaming Eagles, the proof-of-concept organization that helped give way to the creation of the FCFL.

But Ray is more than just a ball-hawk defender and pretty face: he is a man in full. Ray would tell you that he responds to several nicknames, including (but not limited to): SugaRay, Sting Ray, O.C. (because he was Out of Control on the field), ADVIL (former NFL star Aaron Glenn would say that Ray brought headaches to opponents when he hit them), Ray-Ray, Sug, Cookie Daddy (for his role on the TV show Empire), the Bald Eagle, and now “THE COMMISH.” We welcome submissions for new nicknames from any and all fans!

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Ray is also married to Mrs. Commish and has two kids and a blue amstaff pit bull named Devereaux. Outside of those four, he loves sushi more than just about anything (growing up in Hawaii, that’s sort of a staple). He doesn’t watch much TV, but he does binge YouTube with a passion, and he can’t wait to see Black Panther, coming to a theater near you!

You can find Ray on Twitter @RayAustin36. Drop him a tweet about all-things FCFL – he’d love to chat!

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Scouting in the FCFL

Greetings, FCFL Fans!

My name is Jason Chilton, and I’m the Head of Football Experience for the Fan Controlled Football League. My job is to make sure that we deliver the ultimate sports experience to fans of the FCFL. That means putting a great football product on the field every week AND delivering on our “Power to the Fans” promise to keep you in control of your favorite FCFL Team.

We’re going to bring “Power to the Fans” to life in a ton of different ways, and we’ll be telling you more about them in the coming days and weeks. You’ll learn more about how fans are going to help shape the league rule book, call plays and more; but if I’m being honest, the thing I’m most excited about is the FCFL Draft. For the first time in professional sports history, the fans will be in charge of building their favorite team from the ground up. Over the course of two days and eighteen rounds, fans will vote on every draft pick to build their ideal blueprint for a winning team.

But when your team is on the clock, how will you decide which player makes the best choice?

That’s where the FCFL’s Virtual Scouting Department comes in.

The FCFL’s Virtual Scouting Department is one leg of the Virtual Front Office, the organization where the most dedicated and football-savvy fans will play a huge role in shaping their chosen Team and the FCFL as a whole.

Like so many parts of the FCFL vision, the idea of a fan-run Virtual Scouting Department got a successful field test with the Salt Lake Screaming Eagles. Starting in the summer of 2016, more than 70 Screaming Eagles fans scoured every corner of the Internet to find prospects and grind through film to bring the best possible talent to the world’s first fan-run professional sports teams.

And they did one hell of a job.

The fans’ headline find was probably quarterback Verlon Reed, who started out at Ohio State before finishing his collegiate career at Findlay University. Verlon made history as the triggerman for a completely fan-run offense, and he led the Screaming Eagles to the third-ranked offense in the Indoor Football League while running away with Offensive Rookie of the Year honors.

But the fan scouting success stories didn’t stop at quarterback.

Fans helped us evaluate players who got onto our radar at a series of Scouting Combines prior to the season. One of those players, wide receiver Derwyn Lauderdale from Southwest Baptist University, also found his place in the history book by hauling in the first fan-called touchdown in pro football history.

Often, players competing in indoor football are chasing the dream of a career in the NFL or CFL. When one of “your guys” gets the chance to make that dream a reality, there’s a sense of loss but an even bigger sense of pride that he’s getting his shot – AND that you were able to spot some next-level talent. Screaming Eagles defensive back Don “The Deal” Unamba recorded four interceptions in seven games before getting the chance to join the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the CFL.

Finally, the biggest “diamond in the rough” success story for the Screaming Eagles’ fan scouts might have been James Calhoun. Calhoun was discovered playing running back and wide receiver for the SoCal Coyotes, a semi-pro team in Palm Springs, California. His athleticism jumped out on tape, and when he made his way into the starting lineup midseason – as a defensive back, not a receiver – he immediately lit the IFL on fire. Calhoun recorded nine interceptions in just ten starts, returning a ridiculous FIVE of them for touchdowns on his way to a pair of Defensive Player of the Week awards and a spot on the first team All-IFL defensive squad.

We’re counting on the next wave of Virtual Scouts to help us find that kind of difference-making talent and bring it to the FCFL. The inaugural Virtual Scouting Class for the FCFL will help us pore through the thousands of players who currently reside in the FCFL Player Database while adding new names to the list. If you’re an FCFL Virtual Scout, you’ll help us decide which players deserve an invite to one of our regional Scouting Combines. Players’ existing tape and performance at the Combines will determine which players receive FCFL contract offers and invites to the league’s Pre-Draft Camp: a weeklong testing, evaluation and scrimmage event in the vein of the Senior Bowl. During Camp, Virtual Scouts will be working overtime to break down film and complete the Player Draft Profiles that will guide every fan’s selections throughout the FCFL Draft. Even after the Draft, the Scouts’ work won’t be done – throughout Training Camp and all season long, you’ll have access to Coach’s View film of FCFL practices and games so that you can help guide your team’s decisions when making trade offers or other roster moves.

One of the other great things about becoming an FCFL Virtual Scout will be the chance to learn from pros who’ve been there and done that at the highest levels of professional football. We’ve got an exciting announcement coming up with a strategic Scouting partner for the FCFL who will help ensure that every Virtual Scout receives top-notch instruction in the art of evaluating players. Virtual Scouts will also get to interact with and learn from indoor football championship-winning coach and FCFL “Coach of the Fans” Shawn Liotta as well as ex-NFL players like FCFL Commissioner Ray Austin and NFL executives like former 49ers Team President Andy Dolich.

All that means that whether you’re doing it just for fun or if you’ve got aspirations of a professional scouting career, becoming an FCFL Virtual Scout will give you the chance to put your work front and center while guiding the fortunes of real, professional football teams – the kind of opportunity that’s never existed before.

Interested in learning more about how to become a Virtual Scout in the Fan Controlled Football League? Then keep an eye on our website and our Telegram channel, where we’ll be telling you much more about the Virtual Scouting program and all aspects of the FCFL experience in the coming days and weeks. We’re excited to make professional sports history, and even more excited to have YOU be a part of it.

Power to the Fans!

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The Thrill of Calling Plays on My Phone

Guest Post from Screaming Eagles fan and veteran play-caller Andy Kossak

How many times through the years have all of us as football fans yelled at the television about a play that was called on 2nd-and-8? We know for sure our play idea would’ve had much more success than what our favorite team just went with, right? If only we had the chance to prove it with some sort of real-life Madden. Boom!

It was last year in late April when I first stumbled upon an article in the Wall Street Journal that shared the news that a new football league was forming where fans would have the ability to call plays for the teams to run. That’s right. As of that moment, I realized we all were going to have the ability to become live, armchair offensive coordinators, and there would be no going back.

I had to learn more and try it out for myself. When I did, I quickly found out that this new concept wasn’t just exciting; it was borderline addicting.

To get started on becoming the world’s next great play caller, all I had to do was install an app for the Salt Lake Screaming Eagles. They were the team that was trying out this new method of play calling in the Indoor Football League against squads such as the Arizona Rattlers, Colorado Crush, and Green Bay Blizzard.

The Screaming Eagles’ games were broadcast live on Twitch. Once tuned in, all that had to be done was to get ready for kickoff and get prepared to start being part of the offensive play-calling process.

When the Screaming Eagles were on offense, the app provided a quick chance to pick from a handful of pre-selected play choices. I could choose from run, pass, or special teams options, and the team would run the play that got the most votes from everyone out there like me that knows more than the so-called experts.

The chosen play was relayed to head coach Matthew Sauk, and he then passed that information on to quarterback Verlon Reed. Reed would then inform his teammates in the huddle of the play, and they’d run it on the field.

Keep in mind, all of the above had to happen in a matter of seconds, as the Screaming Eagles weren’t given any bonus time to wait for plays to be voted on, information to be passed along, and so on. They faced the same play clock as everyone else, so everything was happening on the fly.

The app was very user-friendly and made it easy to choose from the selection of plays. Once I made my choice, it was always interesting to see if that would be the play that won the vote or if a majority voted to do something else. When a play I chose didn’t get run, it kind of made me think about how offensive coordinators must feel when the head coach negates their choice and says to do something else.

The thrill of having to make a quick decision based on down and distance, where the offense was on the field, how much time there was to go in the game, etc., is an incredible rush for a football fan on the outside who always wanted to be on the inside.

The only problem with the whole concept is the season came to an end, but, as you know, there’s better news ahead. Instead of just one team, there’s now a league of teams for whom to call plays, as the Fan Controlled Football League kicks off later this year. I don’t know about you, but I’m more than ready to play offensive coordinator again. Opening day can’t get here soon enough.

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#WhatIsACatch?

What is a catch?

It seems like such a basic question. What could be more intuitive to the game of football than the concept of literal possession of the football?

And yet week in and week out, social media is flooded with the now ubiquitous hashtag #WhatIsACatch? (with myriad references to the point of reaching meme status to #DezCaughtIt, aka Dez Bryant’s “drop” in the 2014 NFL Playoffs against the Green Bay Packers – one Cowboys fan went so far as to make the declaration in his recent obituary).

Last night, during Super Bowl LII between the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles, the hashtag returned with a vengeance – not once, but twice – influencing two of the most crucial plays in the epic shootout that became an instant classic in the football world.

Unfortunately for Patriots fans, both plays were in fact ruled catches in favor of the Eagles. And both plays distinctly resembled previously overturned catches from earlier this year that went in the Patriots favor.

The first of these “catches” was made by Eagles running back Corey Clement on 3rd and 6 from the Patriots 22-yard line. Quarterback Nick Foles lofted a gorgeous ball to the back of the end zone where Clement made a phenomenal play on the ball for a key score to put the Eagles up 10. But upon replay, it seemed pretty evident that Clement briefly lost possession of the ball, and when he regained it, he no longer had two feet in bounds.

The play resembled a contreversial call from earlier in the season, when officials overturned a touchdown by New York Jets Tight End Austin Sefarian-Jenkins (also against the Patriots), saying that he briefly lost possession of the ball, and by the time he regained possession, he was out-of-bounds.

In that instance, it had been ruled that Sefarian-Jenkins actually fumbled the ball, resulting in a touchback and giving the Patriots the ball on the 20-yard line, but both that play and the Clement catch were essentially judgements of retaining possession and foot placement.

Chris Collinsworth, founder of Pro Football Focus, was announcing the game and voiced his opinion that the catch would be overturned. Former Head of Officiating for the NFL Dean Blandino took to Twitter in opposition of Collinsworth.

In the end, the officials went with the NFL’s built-in cop out (‘the play stands as called’) to keep the initial call of a catch in place. This is basically the NFL’s way of saying, “we don’t know how to accurately rule this play, so we might as well just go with whatever the referee said on the spot even though our slow motion replays yield a more clearly definitive view than the referee desperately trying to keep up with all-world athletes sprinting on the fly.”

The Eagles took a two-score lead, whereas if they play had been ruled incomplete, they would have been forced to attempt a field goal on the next play (and given the wacky special teams last night, WHO KNOWS what would have happened then?).

The second non-reversal of the game was what ended up being the Super Bowl-winning score by Eagles Tight End Zach Ertz with just over two minutes remaining. Ertz made the catch just a couple yards short of the end zone, and then twisted his body to hurdle over Patriots Safety Devin McCourty to take the ball into the end zone. When Ertz slammed to the ground, the ball popped loose from his grip.

The play nearly identically resembled a play from just weeks ago, when Pittsburgh Steelers Tight End Jesse James had a touchdown catch overturned (also against the Patriots) that likely would have been the game-winning score. James also caught the ball short of the end zone, dove for the touchdown, and had the ball pop out when he hit the ground. The officials ruled that he was still going to the ground in the process of securing possession, and thus did not complete the catch.

Where James was ruled to have not yet established possession, Ertz was ruled to have completed the catch and then made a separate move to go for the score, meaning that the second the ball broke the plane of the goal line, he had scored a touchdown, and the ball popping out of his hands was technically a dead ball. If the catch had been overturned, the Eagles again would have been forced to kick a field goal, which would have given them a slim two-point lead with two minutes remaining.

Few are complaining about the Ertz ruling, but it is clearly close enough to the James play to warrant some eyebrow raising. Alongside “What is a catch?” and “What constitutes possession” is “What is a football move?” Even if these two plays, as broken down by SB Nation, are different enough to yield a clear ruling going two ways, there is a gray area in there that would drive fans crazy.

What is a catch?

Roger Goodell says that he wants the barometer for what constitutes a catch to be something where if you polled a random bar during a football game, they would all inherently know the answer.

The problem with this assessment, of course, is that people (especially drunk fans watching a game at a bar) disagree about calls ALL THE TIME. Football is a highly ambiguous sport by its nature. Think about the act of spotting the ball: it seems like a crucial element to the game – gauging where the last play ended – and yet in practice, it is so flippant and subjective, with referees eyeballing the play on the fly and just rolling into the next play (save the rare replay challenge of a spot, which is almost never overturned).

Goodell has already announced that the rule will be “reviewed” in time for the 2018 season – whatever that means.

We all know what constitutes a catch most of the time, but boy-oh-boy does that gray area seem to poke its head out during the most inopportune moments, slapping the players, coaches, and fans alike across the face with a dose of gridiron reality: this game is imprecise.

They say you could call holding on any play. Same goes for pass interference. Offensive Tackles routinely line up too far off the line of scrimmage, trying to get a head start on the Defensive End coming around the corner to get to the Quarterback. But these are penalties, meant to be left to the discretion of the officials.

What is a catch? What is possession?

The dirty little secret about the #WhatIsACatch hashtag movement is that making the rule (and having it be applicable to all the random situations that consistently arise that have seemingly never previously been accounted for) is not easy. For being such a simple act (possession of the football) that is so integral to the premise of the sport of football, finding the proper arrangement of words that is applicable and obvious to all situations is tough work.

And that’s why we need your help!

In the FCFL, the FANS are tasked with every level of football operations. Sure, calling plays and voting on draft picks is great fun, but not every aspect of league management is meant to be so easy. Agreeing to a rulebook is tough work, but we think that you are up to the task.

In the coming months leading up to our first kickoff, FCFL Commissioner Ray Austin and Football Coach of the Fans Shawn Liotta will be speaking with dozens and hundreds of super fans who will help shape the rulebook. This will come in the form of AMAs and video broadcasts.

We are excited to bring you an entire league of fan-controlled football – but first, we need to set the rules.

So join us on Facebook, and Twitter, and let us know: what is a catch?