On Thursday, the NFL announced 19 proposed review changes that will be voted on at the NFL's Annual Meeting from March 20-23 in Boca Raton, Florida. Listed below, we'll take a brief look at the proposals. If you'd like to read the full description of each proposal, click here. You'll probably end up being more informed by reading the competition committee conference call transcript, though, where they elaborate on some of the proposals.
1. By Competition Committee; Permanently moves the line of scrimmage for Try kicks to the defensive team's 15-yard line, and allows the defense to return any missed Try.
In 2015, extra points were moved from the 2- to the 15-yard line. That was a temporary rule change for the 2015 season, with the notion that it'd be re-visited in 2016. Now, they are trying to make it a permanent rule change. I'd expect this to pass easily, if not unanimously.
2. By Competition Committee; Permits the offensive and defensive play callers on the coaching staffs to use the coach-to-player communication system regardless of whether they are on the field or in the coaches' booth.
According to the competition committee, currently, coaches in the booth can radio down to the sideline, and then the sideline talks to the offensive or defensive play callers. If we want less delay of games, I see no harm in just having the communication come from the booth.
3. By Competition Committee; Makes all chop blocks illegal.
I'm still fuzzy on what currently is legal when it comes to chop blocks, since the rule has changed numerous times in the past. The competition committee says, "It is not a foul if a blocker’s opponent initiates contact," and that they'll go over examples on film when it's up for a vote.
4. By Competition Committee; Disqualifies a player who is penalized twice in one game for certain types of unsportsmanlike conduct fouls.
Specifically, these are the unsportsmanlike penalties that would be subject to the rule:
(a) Throwing a punch, or a forearm, or kicking at an opponent, even though no contact is made.
(b) Using abusive, threatening, or insulting language or gestures to opponents, teammates,
officials, or representatives of the League.
(c) Using baiting or taunting acts or words that engender ill will between teams.
That means a player could be called for roughing the passer twice or hitting a defenseless receiver twice, but they would not be ejected. I guess I'm fine with this rule, as it tries to prevent the Josh Norman/Odell Beckham situation from a year ago. It's not something that will happen very often, though.
5. By Competition Committee; Changes the spot of the next snap after a touchback resulting from a free kick to the 25-yard line.
I hope this one does not happen. Players already have a difficult enough time returning kickoffs beyond the 20 yard line. If you now say that a touchback will always be at the 25 on kickoffs, everyone will be taking knees. That is the point of the rule -- for player safety -- but we've already made the "kickoff" a virtual non-play with what has happened the past few years.
6. By Baltimore; to amend Rule 5, Sections 3, Articles 1 and 2 (Changes in Position) to require players to wear jersey vests with numbers appropriate for their positions.
I think there is zero percent chance of this happening. This is the first of the rules that was proposed by a team (the Ravens), and they are probably still thinking back about what the Patriots did a few years ago. It's a silly idea to allow players to change jersey numbers during a game -- or maybe even special vests (like special teams players do in training camp) to signify the exception. Just pay attention to the officials when they announce who is eligible.
7. By Baltimore; to amend Rule 15, Section 2, Articles 1, 4, and 5 (Instant Replay) to provide each team with three challenges and expand reviewable plays.
It's not a big deal to increase it to three challenges, but I'm fine with it sticking at two because all scoring reviews and turnovers are automatically reviewed now. The proposal does allow coaches to use a challenge during the two-minute warning, which is something I would be fine with.
8. By Buffalo; to amend Rule 15, Section 2, Articles 1, 4, and 5 (Instant Replay) to permit a coach to challenge any official's decision except scoring plays and turnovers.
This proposal allows any play to be reviewed, including all penalties. I'd be game for this, but it's never going to be approved.
9. By Carolina; to amend Rule 8, Section 2, Article 1 (Intentional Grounding) to expand the definition of intentional grounding.
I'd like to expand the definition to, because I'm tired of seeing quarterbacks intentionally throw the ball into the dirt but get away with it because a running back was blocking in the area or the ball was somewhat in the vicinity of the line of scrimmage outside the pocket. Let's reward pass rushers for some of these obvious throwaways that aren't downfield enough.
10. By Kansas City; to amend Rule 14, Section 2, Article 1 (Half-distance Penalty) to add penalty yards to the distance needed to gain a First Down.
My brain hurts trying to think about this one. I think I know what they are talking about, but it's just not worded very well if you read the detailed proposal.
11. By Kansas City; to amend Rule 8, Section 1, Article 2 (Legal Forward Pass) to prohibit quarterbacks from falling to the ground, getting up, and throwing a forward pass.
This is a direct result of Peyton Manning slipping last year, having his knees hit the ground (untouched), getting up, and then completing a pass. I understand the defensive predicament -- you don't know if the quarterback is giving himself up. However, I think this is a rarity -- we don't need this as a rule. If an official really feels the player gave themselves up too, they should be able to already call that.
12. By Minnesota; to amend Rule 15, Section 2, Article 1 (Coaches' Challenge) to eliminate the requirement that a team be successful on each of its first two Instant Replay challenges in order to be awarded a third challenge.
I do like this version of the rule. Basically, you don't get a third challenge if you've failed on the first two. If you get either of the first two challenges correct, though, you are awarded the third one.
13. By Washington; to amend Rule 16, Section 1, Articles 1, 4, 6 and 7 (Overtime procedures) to eliminate overtime periods in preseason games.
Preseason games are miserable enough, so yes, they should eliminate overtime for preseason games.
14. By Washington; to amend Rule 15, Section 2, Article 4 (Reviewable Plays) to subject personal foul penalties to Instant Replay review.
This is a subset of an earlier proposed rule. Again, I'm for it, just like they do in college (minus the ejection part), but I don't see it happening.
15. By Washington; to amend Rule 15, Section 2, Article 1 (Coaches' Challenge) to eliminate the requirement that a team be successful on each of its first two Instant Replay challenges in order to be awarded a third challenge.
Same as proposal #12 I believe.
16. By Competition Committee; Expands the horse collar rule to include when a defender grabs the jersey at the name plate or above and pulls a runner toward the ground.
For player safety reasons, it's basically the same as a horse collar, so I don't mind expanding it to below the collar.
17. By Competition Committee; Makes it a foul for delay of game when a team attempts to call a timeout when it is not permitted to do so.
I honestly thought there was already a 15-yard penalty for the same team calling multiple time outs in a row. As it turns out, that rule currently only exists when a team is trying to freeze the kicker. I guess I'd be fine having a delay of game penalty for other situations, but I don't think this happens very often.
18. By Competition Committee; Eliminates the five-yard penalty for an eligible receiver illegally touching a forward pass after being out of bounds and re-establishing himself inbounds, and makes it a loss of down.
A loss of down instead of a five-yard penalty? Because the player is ineligible to be the first one to touch the pass, I guess it makes sense to treat it as an incompletion basically instead of semi-rewarding the team with new live.
19. By Competition Committee; Eliminates multiple spots of enforcement for a double foul after a change of possession.
There are also some bylaw proposals, but we'll review those only if/when they pass. What do you think of the rule change proposals, Browns fans?