Team, committee proposals up for owners vote next week
The NFL Competition Committee announced the proposed rule changes to be voted on at the owners meeting next week in Orlando. Rich McKay of the Atlanta Falcons and Jeff Fisher of the St. Louis Rams offered insight into the seven proposals from teams, six proposed changes or rule modifications from the committee, seven bylaw change proposals, and one resolution that will be considered over three days of meetings.
Each proposal requires a two-thirds vote of the ownership to be passed.
The Washington Redskins offered the following three rule change proposals (remember, teams that make proposals must be back by their owners in submitting the proposal):
- Move the kickoff to the 40-yard line for what the Redskins termed “historic” and safety reasons
- Expand instant replay to allow the review of personal foul penalties
- Eliminate overtime in preseason games, citing player safety reasons.
New England had four rule change proposals:
- Extend goal posts five feet higher so that officials can more easily and accurately determine if a kick was good when it passes nearly directly over the posts
- Move the line of scrimmage for extra point attempts to the 20-yard line to ensure more competitive play; however a two point conversion would still be from the 2-yard line;
- Install six fixed cameras to cover all boundary lines to supplement the TV cameras for replay reviews
- Permit coaches to challenge any official’s call, except on scoring plays, to “make more extensive use of the replay system.”
The Competition Committee also has six rule changes or modification proposals:
- Extend roll-up blocks from behind to include such blocks from the side (adding “and side” to existing rule 12-2-1)
- Connect the New York Officiating Command Center to all booth-to-field relay communications for every review initiated
- Change the rule to state that recovery of a loose ball in the field of play is reviewable
- Remove stoppage of the clock following a sack
- Pass interference can occur at or beyond the line of scrimmage, eliminating the 1-yard “pick” zone
- Simplify enforcement points in complex situations like a defensive foul on a net-loss and fouls on change of possession
In addition to these rule change proposals, there will be seven bylaw changes introduced next week that were proposed by the Washington Redskins, Philadelphia Eagles, and the committee:
- Increase the active roster list by three players for teams playing Thursday games citing player safety and development
- Raising the practice squad limits from eight to ten
- Allow trading of players starting 14 days before the start of the free-agency period
- Eliminate the current preseason cut down to 75 and stick with just one cut down to 53
- Increase injured reserve/designated to return players to more than one player;
- Expand teams ability to do testing and timing for players attending combine at other specific facilities due to the fact that currently, some cities are located in larger metropolitan areas which makes it easier for testing and timing than those that aren’t
- Adjust the timing of the final roster cut down from 6 p.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern.
Finally, the Indianapolis Colts have proposed one resolution to modify a policy. The Colts have suggested that a home team that is playing in a stadium with a retractable roof could exercise the option to open the roof at halftime, if it is closed at the start of the game. The Colts suggest that this is a great idea for fan enjoyment and experience and could also benefit teams on the field.
During the conference call, league officials and the leaders of the Competition Committee did bring up player sportsmanship (including racial slurs or derogatory comments involving sexual orientation) and emphasized the league’s desire to decrease the occurrences of them on the field. These situations are personal fouls, but not always called on the field, when directed at opposing players.
Josh Lewis has joined Football Zebras as a contributing writer. This is the first of what we hope are many posts from him. Welcome, Josh.