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2018 rule changes

Which new rules were passed: scorecard of the 2018 owners meeting [live updates]

Football Zebras will be updating the status of the agenda items as information is reported.



NFL owners are meeting in Orlando to discuss many items for the 2018 season, including 10 rules proposals, 12 bylaws changes, and 4 policy proposals. Football Zebras will be updating this post as information is reported on the status of individual agenda items. A brief summary of each is listed below, indicating the team that proposed it or “CC” for a Competition Committee proposal) and the disposition of each proposal. In order to pass, a proposal needs a ¾-vote of all owners, or 24 voting in the affirmative (abstentions are essentially counted the same as “no” votes; in the unlikely event there are absentees, those teams are not counted at all).

Items that are tabled are deemed to not be passed, unless it is specifically tabled for consideration at the May spring meeting.

Additional information about the owners meeting agenda items appears below the list. 

Playing rules

  1. Touchback to the 25 after a kickoff to be a permanent rule, after 2 years of trial (CC) – PASSED
  2. Modify catch rule by removing “going to the ground” provision and allowing more ball movement in securing possession (CC) — PASSED, unanimously.
  3. Illegal batting by the offense would also be loss of down (and 10 yds) in most cases, consistent with illegal kicking (CC) – PASSED
  4. Roughing the passer and defenseless player hits reviewable in replay (LAC) – FAILED
  5. All personal fouls reviewable in replay (WAS) – FAILED
  6. Maximum 15-yd defensive pass interference, except for intentional acts (NYJ) — WITHDRAWN
  7. Allow officiating executives to call for ejections on fouls called by the crew (CC) — PASSED
  8. Coach’s challenges must be made within 40 seconds of entering a television break (CC) – FAILED
  9. Eliminate extra-point kicks on game-winning touchdowns at the expiration of regulation (CC) – PASSED
  10. In overtime with a team trailing by 3, any score counts on a play with a turnover; down runs to completion (CC) – PASSED
  11. Lowering head to initiate contact with helmet is a 15 yd foul, can be ejected (ad-hoc by CC) — PASSED, replaces crown hit rule 12-2-8, see below for rule text
    1. Replay review of targeting — TABLED for May meeting
    2. Enforcement parameters (such as ejections) and mechanics to be discussed with a revised rule likely in May


  1. New procedures for draft prospect testing to be permanent after 1-year trial (CC) — PASSED
  2. Reduce restrictions on reacquiring players assigned via waivers (BUF) — PASSED
  3. Reduce restrictions of procedural recall waivers for players on Reserve/Retired list (BUF) – FAILED
  4. Allow injured reserve players to be traded (DEN) — PASSED but revised to apply only to major injuries, see below
  5. Allow non-vested injured reserve players to avoid waivers prior to roster cutdown (MIA) – PASSED
  6.  Reduce postseason waivers from 10 days to 24 hours (MIN) — PASSED
  7. Limit Western teams from playing more than 3 away games earlier than 1 p.m. in their home time zone (SF-AZ-LAC) – FAILED
  8. Allow video on coach’s tablets on sideline and in booth (CC) – TABLED
  9. Injured reserve players may return after 8 games, not 8 weeks (CC) – PASSED
  10. Injury settlements extended from 5 to 7 business days (CC) – PASSED
  11. Revise reserve list reinstatement deadlines to close a loophole caused by Thursday night games (CC) – PASSED
  12. Revise recall dates from military reserve list to be consistent with the trading deadline (CC) – PASSED


  1. Allow officiating inquiries about specific plays to be shared with opponent in that game (WAS) – FAILED
  2. Require permanent female locker facilities in all stadiums by 2021 for home, away, and officiating staffs (SF)
  3. Open contract negotiation and signing for a head coach candidate still active in postseason (CC) — TABLED indefintely, won’t be considered in May
  4. Relax tampering rules for teams contacting a veteran player who has been publicly announced as cut, but prior to the league’s formal notification (CC) — PASSED, for one year only

Miscellaneous items

  1. Address concerns surrounding National Anthem demonstrations — TABLED, discussions to continue at spring meeting
  2. Matching funds allocated for social justice reform projects — PASSED, unanimously
  3. Penalizing certain helmet hits other than on defenseless players and by use of the crown of the helmet – point of emphasis that was replaced by Rule Proposal 11, above
  4. Rule a player down who surrenders advance, not just by sliding or kneeling – point of emphasis, no vote required
  5. Approval of pending Panthers sale – expected vote at spring meeting in May
  6. Approve dissemination to teams of NextGen stats for all games, not just team’s data — vote expected Tuesday
  7. NFL Network and NFL Media headquarters to move to L.A. stadium complex — announced by NFL and the Rams
  8. Increase debt limit for construction of L.A. stadium complex
  9. Approve $1.8 billion Las Vegas stadium plan — PASSED, 31-1.
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