EXPECT EXTRA-LONG EXTRA POINT: NFL owners approve PAT rule changes for 2015 season | Kickers moved back 15 yards | Defensive scoring opportunity created
The NFL has been tinkering with the PAT in hopes of making it a more difficult and therefore entertaining play for spectators. Continue reading →
ANNUAL NFL OWNERS MEETING: League ownership approves new rules | NFL approves new replay process | Field-goal posts to be extended
ORLANDO, Fla. — On the third day of the NFL Annual Meeting, the league’s ownership got down to voting.
One day after approving a rule to allow referees to consult with the officiating department in New York during replay review (see below), the league came to a decision on the rest of the rule proposals on the docket. Here’s a quick summary of the measures:
- The proposal to extend the goal posts five feet taller has passed.
“It just made sense,” Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. It passed “relatively easily.”
- The “NaVorro Bowman Rule” was passed. That allows the officials to make the recovery of a loose ball in the field of play a reviewable call. This loophole was exposed when Bowman clearly recovered a ball in the NFC Championship Game last year, but the play couldn’t be under review.
- The game clock will now continue after a quarterback sack outside of two minutes.
- Multiple proposals to expand plays that can be reviewed were shot down. The Patriots had suggested allowing all plays to be reviewed. The Washington Redskins wanted personal fouls to be reviewed.
Less than 50 percent of coaches supported the measure to make all plays reviewable, according to the Competition Committee. The committee said the topic inspired a lot of debate.
- The proposal to move the kickoff to the 40-yard line was shot down. So was their idea to eliminate the training camp roster cutdown to 75 players.
- The proposal to move the extra point back to the 25-yard line failed, but the league will experiment with a new extra-point system during the preseason. Extra points in Weeks 1 and 2 of the preseason will be snapped from the 20-yard line. (Making them like a 37-yard field goal.)
- The proposal to allow an unlimited number of players on injured reserve to return to the active roster failed. Jeff Fisher of the Competition Committee said that vote wasn’t close.
No decision yet
- The abolition of overtime in the preseason was tabled until May.
- The idea to expand the practice squad from eight to ten players was also tabled. The same goes for expanding rosters for Thursday night games to 49 from 46.
- The league also put off deciding whether to allow teams to open their roof during halftime at games for weather reasons.
- The Competition Committee told the Patriots that it will look at the possibility of adding cameras to all goal lines, side lines and end lines. The NFL will discuss the possibility with its broadcast partners.
RELATED: NFL approves rule that changes the replay process
ORLANDO, Fla. — NFL owners voted to significantly change the instant replay process.
The league announced owners voted to pass Rule Proposal 9 at the 2014 NFL Annual Meeting, which says that referees can consult with the officiating department in New York during replay reviews.
This proposal always had a wide swath of support throughout the league because there is belief it will improve accuracy and speed during replay reviews. The existing NFL Officiating Command Center in New York immediately will begin to review replays after the call is challenged. By the time the referee gets to his “booth,” the command center can advise the referee on what to look for in the play. The referee ultimately makes the final choice on the play.
It’s hard to see the downside of this rule. It should prevent obvious mistakes from happening.
The league also voted to ban “roll up” blocks to the side of a player’s leg. This is a tweak of the rule that bans these blocks from behind. It should help mostly defensive players, and is a relatively minor adjustment on the previous rule.
The rest of the rules and bylaws proposals are expected to be voted on during Wednesday’s session (see above).
NFL officials met with the media today (Sunday) following Jason Garrett’s press conference to discuss changes made to the NFL rule book during the past offseason.
Officials ran film depicting all major rule changes to be enforced during the 2013 season:
- As has been discussed extensively, running backs are no longer allowed to make contact with the crown of their helmet. If a ball carrier outside the tackle box lines up with a defender and lowers his head to use the crown against a tackler, a 15-yard penalty will be assessed.
- On all kicking plays, the defense can no longer block below the waist, and they may no longer push players into the line or stack one side of the line of scrimmage.
- Also on kicking plays, the long snapper is now a defenseless player and may not be engaged until he becomes an active blocker.
- Peel back blocks, in which an offensive player blocks a defender below the waist from either in front or from the side, will now draw a 15-yard flag.
- Thigh pads and knee pads – all pads worn below the waist – are now mandatory for all players. If it’s determined a player isn’t wearing pads, he can’t return to the field of play until he fixes his uniform.
- The infamous “tuck rule” has now been amended so that the passing motion ends when the quarterback begins to tuck the ball. Under the new rule, Tom Brady’s famous incomplete pass from the 2001-02 playoffs would have been a fumble.
- The rules have been amended to change the penalty for an erroneous challenge. When a coach throws a challenge flag for a play that either cannot be reviewed or is automatically reviewed, the team will lose a timeout. In the past, plays that had been challenged erroneously could not be reviewed – such as the case during last season’s Thanksgiving game between Houston and Detroit.
- Taunting between players, including spiking or spinning the ball in the direction of another player, is a penalty.
Supervisor of officials Gary Slaughter spoke briefly following the presentation, and he clarified the running back rule, which has been the source of plenty of consternation among NFL fans.
“We’re still allowing the runner to protect himself,” Slaughter said. “We don’t plan on getting out there and having a lot of flags on this. In fact, of all the plays from last year, only really a few fit that rule. [The runner] still has the ability to defend himself, if there’s any angle involved going toward the sideline or outside the tackle box – running at an angle, that’s not a foul either. And we certainly don’t encourage the runner to run straight up and take the blow, either.”
Slaughter also touched on the peel-back blocks, saying that any such situation would require the blocker to go across the body. He also added that officials will make a strong effort in 2013 to penalize the instigator during taunting situations.
“We’re really making an effort, even more, to try and get the instigator –even if we see retaliation by somebody. You might see that this year,” he said. “If a player has been picking, trying to get the guy to react, he finally does – even if he does, we’re going to try to get the guy that caused it.”