The NFL owners, head coaches, and other executives are getting together in Arizona for their annual meetings. The focus is frequently on rule changes, tweaks to the way the game is played on the field and how it is administered. Here are the 24 proposed changes (via NFL.com) with some comments were warranted.
A vote of 75 percent of the owners (24) is needed to pass any rule changes.
Of the proposed modifications, 13 would affect the instant replay review process:
- Allow coaches with available timeouts and challenges to challenge any official’s decision except scoring plays and turnovers. Comment: Why not? If a coach believes there is indisputable visual evidence that the officials got any call (or non-call) wrong he should be able to throw the challenge flag. If they burn their challenges early, so be it.
- Subject every foul that is called to instant replay review.
- Give teams three challenges, eliminating the need for a team be successful on each of its first two challenges to be awarded a third. Comment: This one was proposed by the Redskins. Why, so Jay Gruden can have even more fruitless challenges? He had one successful challenge in eight tries in 2014.
- Use instant replay to review personal foul calls.
- Review any penalty that results in an automatic first down.
- From Tennessee and Indianapolis: Use instant replay on fouls against defenseless players. Tennessee proposes that fouls for hits on defenseless receivers can be created in replay when a completed pass is reversed to incomplete . Indianapolis proposed that coaches be allowed to challenge fouls against defenseless players without losing a timeout on an unsuccessful challenge. Comment: Perhaps something needs to be done here. It’s such a tough call for the officials to make at full speed. We often see a player get flagged on a Sunday and then not fined during the following week, an indication that replay review found no violation.
- Let replay officials initiate reviews of plays that would result in a score or change of possession if the on-field ruling is reversed.
- Allow replay to be used to resolve clock issues. Tennessee wants review to apply to the status of the game clock on the final play of either half or overtime; its proposal would be in effect for only one year. Chicago wants replay to apply to the status of the play clock.
- Place fixed cameras on all of the field’s boundary lines. Comment: The NFL couldn’t afford that! Oh, wait, they could. Easily. Make it happen.
- Let stadium-produced video be used for instant replay review.
Two proposals would affect the PAT process:
- From Indianapolis: Reward teams that score a touchdown and successfully convert a two-point conversion with an opportunity to attempt a 50-yard field goal for an additional point (creating a chance for 9 total points: 6+2+1). Comment: Un, no.
- Move the line of scrimmage for PAT kicks to the 15-yard line. Comment: I’d go with the 25 but anything that makes the PAT a little more difficult is fine with me.
- Allow both teams to have at least one offensive possession in overtime, even if the team possessing the ball first scores a touchdown. Comment: Hey, how about this—play some defense in overtime. Or, better yet, win the game in the 60 minutes that precede overtime. From here it’s not too far down the slippery slope to giving out participation trophies.
- Prohibit defensive players on punts from pushing teammates into the offensive formation at the line of scrimmage.
- Allow any offensive player to be called for an illegal “peel-back” block when the blocker goes below the waist toward his own goal line.
Which rule changes do you support? Let us know in the comments!