Connect with us


USFL makes a midseason rule change for Jeff Fisher, who could not change his point-after attempt option last week

The USFL granted a rule change submitted by Michigan Panthers coach Jeff Fisher



The NFL is known to be slow and lumbering with its rule changes. The USFL has quickly responded to issues in the game by making its second in-season rule change.

Last week, Michigan Panthers head coach Jeff Fisher took a timeout following a touchdown, because he wanted to change his selected option for the conversion attempt. In the NFL, the offense may change between 1- and 2-point conversions if they take a timeout or after a penalty has been assessed. The USFL did not have such a rule.

Referee Bryan Banks did return the timeout to the Panthers, since there was a case of confusion over the rule.

Fisher submitted a proposal to the USFL to allow a coach to change his mind on the conversion attempt, and to use a timeout in order to do so. USFL head of officiating Mike Pereira — who he has said is the league’s “one-man Competition Committee” — has granted the requested rule change to take effect in Week 5, a mere 7 days from the original adverse ruling. Teams would be permitted to change their point-after conversion type via a charged timeout before the first attempt or after a defensive penalty. The offense is still locked into their original selected conversion attempt after an offensive penalty, and cannot use a timeout in that situation.

Pereira also announced a midseason rule change effective in Week 4 that changed the timing of the game clock. In the first and third quarters, the game clock now runs on incomplete passes.

Fisher, notably, was a member of the NFL’s Competition Committee for 16 years, serving as its co-chair for 9 seasons. Sean Payton could have only have wished to have a rule change that swift!

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)

Continue Reading