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23 rules modifications up for a vote (mostly, ‘no’ votes)




The Competition Committee released the list of rules modifications being submitted to the ownership for a vote at next week’s Owners Meetings. Proposals may be made to the ownership by a team or by the Competition Committee. The committee does not comment on team proposals to the ownership at the meeting; that is the duty of the team to defend its proposal. Most of the team proposals take a shot at the replay system (13 proposals, or equal to the total number proposals last season).

We will dissect these proposals and determine which ones have a chance of passing in the coming days, but suffice to say most will not be approved. Here is a summary of what is up for consideration.


Proposals to expand replay to:

  • allow a coach’s challenge after the two-minute warning and in overtime. Also to, again, propose that a timeout — and not the red flag that Patriots coach Bill Belichick despises — should be the method to initiate a coach’s challenge. (Proposed by the Patriots)
  • review all fouls (Patriots).
  • review all personal fouls by coach’s challenge (Titans).
  • review all personal fouls (Washington).
  • review all fouls that are assessed an automatic first down (Washington).
  • review for hits on defenseless receivers when a catch-fumble is reversed to incomplete pass (Titans).
  • review for hits on defenseless players, and to remove the penalty of a timeout for an unsuccessful challenge (Colts).
  • three coach’s challenges, instead of two plus a third if the first two are successful (Washington).
  • potential scores and potential turnovers being under the automatic review of the replay official (Chiefs).
  • review the expiration of the game clock if the discrepancy is greater than 1 second (Titans, single-year proposal only).
  • review the expiration of the play clock (Bears).
  • use fixed cameras trained on the sidelines, goal lines, and end lines (Patriots). This was tabled at last year’s meeting to investigate further.
  • use stadium video board footage in the review

Point-after-touchdown conversion

  • Move the snap for the extra-point kick to the 15, but still a 2-yard run or pass. (Patriots). This was run as a trial in two preseason weeks last year and is being re-proposed.
  • Allow a “bonus” 1-point kick to follow a successful 2-point run or pass for a potential 9-point touchdown (Colts).

Player safety

In addition to the defenseless-player reviews listed above, these are proposed 15-yard fouls:

  • Pushing a teammate into the line of scrimmage, illegal on field goals and extra-points, would be illegal on punts (Ravens).
  • Remove exceptions on peel-back blocks for players on the end of the line (Dolphins).
  • Extend defenseless player protections to an offensive receiver in the immediate aftermath of an interception, as a post-possession foul (Competition Committee).
  • Chop blocks where a backfield player administers the “low” component of the chop block, such as an H-back in a hybrid line/backfield position (Competition Committee).


  • Both teams guaranteed at least one possession in overtime (Bears).
  • Unsportsmanlike conduct and taunting dead-ball fouls at the end of the half are administered on the ensuing kickoff, just as all other dead-ball fouls are (Competition Committee).
  • Linebackers can use jersey numbers 40-49 (Competition Committee).
  • Eligible receivers reporting ineligible that do not line up inside the standard tackle box would be a 5-yard illegal substitution foul (Competition Committee).

Bylaws proposals

  • Remove the 75-man roster cutdown after preseason Week 3 (Washington).
  • Remove timing and testing allowances by teams for players who live or go to school in the team’s metropolitan area if the player attended the League Combine (Eagles).
  • Move up the opt-in time for a player to be placed on injured reserve with a designation to return to the day after the final roster cut, and not the Tuesday following the cut (Competition Committee).
  • Refine the deadline of players on Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform list to return to practice six days before the seventh game, instead of the day after the sixth game, to account for teams playing on Thursdays.

Policy proposal

Revising the retractable roof policy, which a open/closed determination is made 90 minutes before kickoff. When that determination is made, the home team can specify a target temperature and wind speed that would allow the roof to be opened for the second half if met.

Full text of the proposals is embedded below (h/t Deadspin).



Ben Austro is the editor and founder of Football Zebras and the author of So You Think You Know Football?: The Armchair Ref's Guide to the Official Rules (on sale now)

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