Last week, the NFL announced 16 proposed review changes that will be voted on at the NFL’s Annual Meeting from March 24-27 in Phoenix, Arizona. 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.
1. By Competition Committee; to amend Rule 6 to make permanent the kickoff rule changes that were implemented during the 2018 season.
This would not be anything new. All of the changes made to kickoffs in 2018 were done so on a one-year experimental basis. This rule would make it a permanent change now, and is expected to pass easily.
2. By Competition Committee; to amend Rule 12 to expand protection to a defenseless player.
I feel like this has already existed, but the proposal would add the definition of a “blindside block” to the “unnecessary roughness” category, subject to a 15-yard penalty.
3. By Competition Committee; to amend Rule 14, Section 5, Article 2 to change the enforcement of double fouls when there is a change of possession.
This is a minor language change to the rulebook on where offsetting fouls would be enforced during a change of possession.
4. By Competition Committee; to amend Rule 11, Section 4, Article 2 to simplify the application of scrimmage kick rules for missed field goals.
This change simplifies language pertaining to a missed field goal and what happens when a team touches it beyond the line of scrimmage.
5. By Competition Committee; to amend Rule 14, Section 2, Article 3 to allow teams to elect to enforce on the succeeding try or on the succeeding free kick an opponent’s personal or unsportsmanlike conduct foul committed during a touchdown.
Whereas the other rules before this mostly simplified language, this one appears to include an additional option. Previously, if a foul occurred on the other team when a touchdown was scored, the penalty would be enforced on the kickoff. This proposal would give the team the option to enforce is on the kickoff or the try (extra point or two-point try).
6. By Competition Committee; to amend Rule 15, Section 2 for one year only to expand the reviewable plays in instant replay to include fouls for pass interference; also expands automatic replay reviews to include scoring plays and turnovers negated by a foul, and any Try attempt (extra point or two-point conversion).
6a. By Competition Committee; to amend Rule 15, Section 2 for one year only to expand the reviewable plays in instant replay to include all fouls for pass interference, roughing the passer, and unnecessary contact against a player who is in a defenseless posture; also expands automatic replay reviews to include scoring plays and turnovers negated by a foul, and any Try attempt (extra point or two-point conversion).
The first part of this proposal would allow extra point situations to automatically be reviewed, and a one-year trial to allow pass interference fouls to be reviewed.
The 6A portion is even more ambitious, allowing for not only pass interference fouls to be reviewed, but also roughing the passer and defenseless player penalties to be looked at.
This is something that gained big traction as to why the Saints were bounced from the playoffs last year. As much as I want calls to be made right, I have a hard time believing that we’ll see fouls like these ever go down to replay review in the NFL.
7. By Kansas City Chiefs; to amend Rule 16 to (1) allow both teams the opportunity to possess the ball at least one time in overtime, even if the first team to possess the ball in overtime scores a touchdown; (2) eliminate overtime for preseason; and (3) eliminate overtime coin toss so that winner of initial coin toss to begin game may choose whether to kick or receive, or which goal to defend.
This is a three-part rule change proposed by the Chiefs that would be very significant in relation to overtime. First, overtime in preseason would be eliminated, which makes complete sense.
Second, in the regular season, both teams would possess the ball at least once, even if the other team scored a touchdown first. Because of this, the third rule would eliminate the overtime coin toss, and use the winner of the regulation coin toss to make the decision. I don’t see this one passing, unless the preseason overtime component is allowed to be voted on in isolation.
8. By Denver; to amend Rule 6, Section 1, Article 1 to provide an alternative to the onside kick that would allow a team who is trailing in the game an opportunity to maintain possession of the ball after scoring.
This one takes a page from the AAF book. Once per game, a trailing team would be allowed to go for it on 4th-and-15 instead of an onside kick to gain extra possession of the ball. I think something needs to be done because of how onside kicks are impossible to convert on any more, and I’m intrigued by this type of “go for it” mentality. But I worry that 4th-and-15 might be a little too easy to convert, and penalize teams who have been in control of a game.
9. By Washington; to amend Rule 15, Section 2 to subject all plays that occur during a game to coaches’ challenge by teams or review by the Officiating department in the instant replay system.
The Redskins always have some pretty ambitious reviews, and this is another one. This proposal scraps the limit on what can go to replay review, and simply says that “every play or outcome can be reviewed.” There is no way this one happens.
10. By Washington; to amend Rule 15, Section 2, Article 5 to add review of personal fouls as reviewable plays in the instant replay system.
This is a less ambitious proposal by the Redskins, where they want to add the category of “personal fouls” to the types of plays that are reviewable.
11. By Kansas City; to amend Rule 15, Section 2, to add review of personal fouls (called or not called on the field) as plays subject to coaches’ challenge in the instant replay system.
The Chiefs have a proposal that would allow coaches to challenge personal foul penalties, even if a penalty wasn’t called (i.e. a roughing the passer that they feel should’ve been called). Also, the coach can challenge these plays inside of two minutes instead of the booth having to do it.
12. By Carolina, Los Angeles Rams, Philadelphia, and Seattle; to amend Rule 15, Section 2, to add review of designated player safety-related fouls (called or not called on the field) as plays subject to coaches’ challenge in the instant replay system.
We’re seeing a lot of variations of personal fouls being challengable. This proposal comes from a collaboration of four teams, and terms the category “player safety fouls.”
13. By Philadelphia; to amend Rule 15, Section 2, to add scoring plays and turnovers negated by a foul to be subject to automatic review in the instant replay system.
I’m not quite sure where this one would have applicability. It sounds like there are times when a penalty would negate a scoring play, so the scoring play wouldn’t be reviewed. But the proposal would want the scoring play to be reviewed, see what the outcome is, and then allow the coach to make a decision whether or not to accept the penalty.
14. By Denver; to amend Rule 15, Section 2, to add all fourth down plays that are spotted short of the line to gain or goal line to be subject to automatic review in the instant replay system.
The Broncos’ proposal here would allow a fourth down or goal-to-go play that is ruled short of the line to gain to be automatically reviewed by the booth, without the need for a coaches challenge.
15. By Denver; to amend Rule 15, Section 2, to add all Try attempts (Extra point or Two point conversion) to be subject to automatic review in the instant replay system.
This proposal would have all extra point and two point conversions subject to automatic review. Once again, we see that a lot of proposals have variations of the same proposal. It would’ve been nice if the proposals were consolidated in some fashion.
16. By Competition Committee; to amend Rule 15, Section 1, Article 5 to allow League personnel to disqualify for both flagrant football and non-football acts.
This adds “football acts” to the rule of disqualifying players; currently, the language only says “non-football acts.”
In addition, their are bylaw and resolutions proposed, but we will only cover those that end up being passed. We will summarize all approved rule changes, which will be voted on in the next couple of days.