Potential NFL Rule Changes That Will be Discussed Next Week

Rules changes are a nice offseason topic every year; sometimes the changes are good, and sometimes they are bad (like the changes made to kickoffs last year, for example). According to NFL.com, there are several pretty significant rule changes that the Competition Committee will discuss with team owners when they meet in Florida next week. Here is a summary of the potential changes, as well as my take on each one:

  • 12 Men on the Field Penalty: Right now, offenses can take advantage of situations in which the defense has twelve men on the field by running a "free play." The proposed change would prevent the offense from running a play; if the defense is caught with twelve men, the officials blow the play dead and penalize the defense by five yards.

    Right now, I would be against this rule change. I think there is a good strategical advantage for offenses to go hurry-up to catch opposing defense's off guard and be rewarded with a free play. Peyton Manning was especially known for doing this. Also, is there some grey area with the rule? Does the offense have to snap the ball for the defense to be ruled as having 12 men? I imagine so, because while substitutions occur, defenses always have more than 11 guys on the field.
  • Overtime Rules: The proposal is for the "new overtime rules" from two years ago to be implemented during the regular season. I fully support this, because it doesn't make sense to have two different formats and the current system in the playoffs has always ended with the Pittsburgh Steelers losing on the first play.
  • Injured Reserve = Not Season Ending: The proposal is to allow players to be placed on the Injured Reserve, but be able to return at some point in the season. I would fully support this, given the right parameters (i.e. have a cutoff, like the middle of the season, to prevent teams from abusing the system like in baseball). For example, the Browns probably could've seen the return of running back Brandon Jackson last year before the end of the season.
  • Replay Review Changes: There are two big proposals here. The first one is to review all turnovers (I assume this means questionable ones, such as fumbles, rather than obvious interceptions). I have mixed feelings on that, because you almost get to the point where the coaches don't need to have challenge flags in the first place.

    The other proposed change is for the officials on the field to not be able to overturn a call. Instead, the person in the booth will review the play and call down to the field what the result is. This could be really good or really bad. It could be good because they might be more likely to overturn a bad call if the officials on the field use the "indisputable evidence" rule because they don't want to be wrong. It could be bad if we see asinine decisions from the "faceless" booth.

What do you guys think?

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