On Tuesday, there were a boatload of rule proposals, bylaws, and resolutions that were being voted on at the NFL’s Annual League Meeting. The results are in, so let’s take a look at a summary of what is new:
- 7 rule proposals passed
- 6 bylaws passes
- 2 resolutions passed
7 NFL Rule Changes That Passed
1. Kickoff Rule Changes: This was basically a formality. All of the rule changes that went into effect last season for kickoffs (on a one-year trial run) were made permanent with this vote.
At today’s Annual Meeting, owners voted to make permanent the kickoff rule changes that were implemented in 2018. The changes resulted in a 38% reduction in kickoff concussions vs. 2015-17, largely impacted from eliminating wedge blocks. Here's an overview. pic.twitter.com/RISl3DT9Kr— NFL Football Operations (@NFLFootballOps) March 26, 2019
2. Blindslide Blocks: The rulebook now specifically talks about blindside blocks, and how a 15-yard penalty will be enforced for them. Here are some examples of illegal blocks:
To expand protection of the player being blocked, @NFL owners voted to eliminate blindside blocks. One-third of all concussions on punts were caused by blindside blocks. With the rule change, any forcible contact by the blocker with his head, shoulder or forearm is prohibited. pic.twitter.com/abA2cENnXe— NFL Football Operations (@NFLFootballOps) March 26, 2019
3. Double Foul Enforcement: Language was tweaked in the rulebook for when possession changes and there are double fouls. For example, imagine an interception. If I understand correctly, under the old rules, two fouls after the interception would offset the penalties and place the ball at where the interception occurred. Under the new rule, the offsetting penalty would occur wherever the first foul took place. It’s a little ambiguous, though.
4. Field Goal Language: The language for where the ball would be spotted after a missed or blocked field goal was simplified.
5. Penalty Enforcement After TD: I like this new rule. Previously, if there was a personal foul penalty on the defense when the offense scored a touchdown, the offense would be forced to apply the penalty to the kickoff. Now, they can do that, or they can have the penalty applied to the extra point (to make it a shorter kick) or a two-point try (one-yard line).
6. Pass Interference Can be Reviewed: This is the big one! Offensive or defensive pass interference plays can now be reviewed, whether the officials called an infraction or not. This will be implemented on a one-year trial, and is a big win for the Saints. It can have its advantages. But, could we see adverse effects? The competition committee says this play in the Super Bowl should’ve been pass interference. I say “play on” was the right call.
The competition committee said this play should have been interference and the #Rams would have gotten the ball on the 1-yard line. I pointed this out that night (some of you were irritated). It was subtle but by the letter of the law... pic.twitter.com/TdJi2YBnzw— Michael Giardi (@MikeGiardi) March 27, 2019
And, what about Hail Mary plays? Because we know everyone grabs on that play, but it’s kind of an unwritten rule that it’s a no-call.
In addition, point after tries are now subject to automatic replay reviews, and scoring plays and turnovers negated by a foul.
7. Disqualification Formality: I still don’t understand the language, but officials can now disqualify players for “football” plays as opposed to only being able to disqualify them for “non-football plays.”
We will get to the bylaw changes and resolution change in another article.