Was it once legal for a forward pass to be caught on a bounce?

not in my memory bank…why do you ask?

...never that I'm aware of

In the late 1940s, a forward pass that failed to cross the line of scrimmage was considered an illegal forward pass and was penalized by a loss of down with the ball placed at the point the ball was thrown from.

This rule changed (1949 or 50) and passes in the backfield were now legal. The catch was that an incomplete pass in the backfield was considered a fumble. So yes, it was possible to catch a pass that went forward on a bounce. Statistically, passes caught in the backfield were recorded as running plays so technically the real answer to your question is NO.

Not 100% sure when the rule changed again but I would guess 1954-55.

Statistical oddity - In 1961, screen passes were recorded as running plays even though an incomplete pass would kill a play.

stats man from a certain west coast radio show?

A question a bills board. I am no fan of the bills,I just promote the CFL on NFL boards, been banned in miami for doing it. lol