The NFL announced 19 proposed rule changes for the 2016 season plus some procedural changes. They will be considered during the owners meetings starting on Sunday. Let’s look at some of them, including some proposed by the Redskins, and give them a thumbs up or down.
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.
Thumbs up—The move of the point after touchdown back to the 15 last year was a temporary change. It added some interest and excitement to the PAT so it should stay. Second part should be to move the line of scrimmage for a try for two to the one yard line to encourage that more.
Disqualifies a player who is penalized twice in one game for certain types of unsportsmanlike conduct fouls.
Thumbs up—This would be ejection for multiple instances of taunting, throwing punches, etc., not for personal fouls committed before the whistle. This conduct is presumably in the player’s control and if he is out of control he should be ejected.
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.
Thumbs down—Really, Ravens? Vests over the jersey when a tackle lines up as a tight end? You’re better than that.
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
Thumbs down/up—In favor of expanding replay to everything except a list of defined plays including offensive and defensive holding, illegal contact, and pass interference, among others. If the call was wrong and there is indisputable visual evidence to indicate that it should be changeable. But with automatic replays on scoring plays and turnovers there is no need for a coach to have three challenges.
By Washington; to amend Rule 16, Section 1, Articles 1, 4, 6 and 7 (Overtime procedures) to eliminate overtime periods in preseason games. 14.
Thumbs up—I don’t know why this needs to be debated at all. There is absolutely no point in risking injuries by playing for a pointless “win” in a meaningless game. But the Redskin proposed this last year and it was rejected.
By Washington; to amend Rule 15, Section 2, Article 4 (Reviewable Plays) to subject personal foul penalties to Instant Replay review. 15.
Thumbs up—I might oppose this if the officials were not told to throw the flag when in doubt, to err on the side of player safety. If you’re creating a gray area like that you need to have a mechanism to correct it.
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.
Thumbs down—They want a third challenge if either of the first two challenges is successful. As noted above, with automatic challenges you don’t need extras. In fact, I’d go the other way. Give each coach one challenge and if they are successful on that they get another one. This will encourage coaches to save them for critical situations and prevent these “oh, what the heck” challenges over five-yard gains.
If you want to peruse all of the details of all of the proposed playing rule changes you can find the 62-page PDF here. The Redskins also proposed some procedural changes; these are detailed on Redskins.com. Let's look at a couple of those:
The Redskins are proposing an increase in the number of Active List players for regular season games played on a day other than Sunday or Monday (excluding the opening weekend of the season) and for games played in another country from 45 to 49 players per club. They cite player safety for this proposal.
Thumbs down—This is mostly for Thursday night games. I think with just four inactives, as you go on later in the season there will be too many situations where one team will be able to dress more players than the other, creating a competitive imbalance. Perhaps a compromise with 47 players active for Thursday nights would be more equitable.
The Redskins are proposing to permit a player who has suffered a concussion and has not yet been cleared for participation to be placed on the club's Exemption List and be replaced by a player on the team's practice squad on a game-by-game basis until the injured player is cleared.
Thumbs up—Baseball has a similar rule in place and if MLB is a step ahead of you, it’s time to take a serious look at making a change. This is a smart change and I’m not sure why it should even be debated.