Owners Pass 8 Of 23 Rule Change Proposals


There were a whopping 23 rule change proposals this year, but only eight passed at this year's NFL Owners Meetings in Phoenix.

Let's take a look:

Instant Replay Isn't Expanding

Of the 23 proposals, 13 were focused on expanding the use of instant replay. Just one of those measures was approved: to review the game clock on the final play of a half or overtime.

The New England Patriots wanted to give coaches the ability to challenge anything, except turnovers and scoring plays, which are already subject to automatic review. Detroit wanted to give coaches the ability to challenge all fouls, while Tennessee's proposal scaled that back to just personal fouls. None were approved.

Tennessee also proposed a rule change seemingly based on its game in Baltimore last season. They wanted to give referees the ability to enforce a foul for an illegal hit against a defenseless receiver when the on-field ruling is reversed during the review process from a catch/fumble to an incomplete pass. Currently, refs can't add fouls based on what they discover upon review.

That is the scenario that played out when Ravens rookie safety Terrence Brooks crushed Titans tight end Delanie Walker, popping the ball out of Walker's grasp. The play was originally ruled a fumble, but overturned to an incomplete pass. The Titans felt it should have been a personal foul upon review. Going forward, refs still won't be able to add fouls after review.

Player Safety Proposals All Pass

The NFL continues to focus on improving player safety.

All five player safety proposals were given the thumbs up, including a resolution that allows a certified athletic trainer at each game to call a medical timeout if a player appears to be disoriented (such as in the case with Patriots receiver Julian Edelman in the Super Bowl).

The Ravens also had a player safety proposal (their only submission) that was approved. It prohibits players from pushing rushing teammates when the other team is punting. That creates excessive force on those trying to block, and can result in more injuries.

"We thought it should be in there to begin with, just because, if you're going to do it with the field goals, why not do it with the punts?" Head Coach John Harbaugh said Tuesday. "It's more of a clean-up type of a proposal."

Extra-Point Discussion Tabled

The traditional extra point remains, for now, but it doesn't seem it will be that way for long.

There were two rule change proposals made in an attempt to make the extra point more exciting and competitive.

One, via New England, was to move extra-point attempts back to the 15-yard line from the 2-yard line, like the NFL experimented with last preseason. Another, via Indianapolis, was to give teams a 50-yard extra-point attempt if they successfully converted on a two-point conversion, which would allow for a possible nine-point touchdown.

After much discussion Wednesday morning, both of those proposals were tabled. There is no clear solution or consensus yet on what to do to make extra points more exciting.

Chairman of the NFL Competition Committee Rich McKay said owners have given his committee 30 days to come up with a recommendation of what to do, and they will vote on the change during May's league meetings.

McKay said there's talk of moving the line of scrimmage from the 2-yard line to the 1 ½-yard line, which would encourage more conversion attempts.

"The alternatives that were discussed today were all over the place, but some were very consistent," McKay said. "It was a very good discussion. There is a clear sentiment that there is a movement to change this year."

Harbaugh said he's fine with moving the extra-point attempt back, but doesn't want to see more two-point conversion attempts.

"I'm OK with it. We have a good kicker," Harbaugh said Tuesday. "If they want to move it back to the 15, it would be an advantage for us.

"I'm definitely opposed to putting the ball at the 1-yard line for the two-point conversion. I think that's just not a smart move. It would be a safety issue. You give a team an opportunity to run a quarterback sneak with the two tackles in there and the backs pushing in from behind, then it's not football anymore. It's rugby. I think that would be the result of it. Plus, you'd have all the pick plays from 1-yard out. That would be the play of choice."

Here's the full list of rule proposals that passed:

Proposal No. 10, via Tennessee: Add review of the game clock on the final play of a half or overtime to the instant replay system.* *

Proposal No. 16, via Baltimore: Prohibit players from pushing rushing teammates when the other team is punting, expanding the current rule in place on field goal and extra-point attempts to punts.* *

Proposal No. 18, via Miami: Extend the prohibition of illegal "peel back" blocks to all offensive players.* *

Proposal No. 19, via competition committee: Give an intended defenseless receiver protection in the immediate action following an interception.* *

Proposal No. 20, via competition committee: Carry over unsportsmanlike conduct and taunting fouls committed at the end of a half or regulation to the ensuing kickoff.* *

Proposal No. 21, via competition committee: Make it illegal for a running back to chop block a defenseless opponent outside of the tackle box.* *

Proposal No. 22, via competition committee: Permit clubs to assign additional jersey numbers to linebackers. Add 40-49 as eligible numbers, in addition to 50-59 and 90-99.* *

Proposal No. 23, via competition committee: Make it illegal for an offensive player with an eligible receiver's number to report as ineligible and line up outside of the tackle box (like the Patriots did in the divisional playoffs).

Here are the proposals that were rejected:

Proposal No. 1, via New England: Coaches can challenge anything, except turnovers and scoring plays, which are already subject to automatic review.* *

Proposal No. 2, via Detroit: Coaches can challenge all fouls.* *

Proposal No. 3, via Tennessee: Coaches can challenge all personal fouls.* *

Proposal No. 4, via Washington: All personal fouls are subject to official review (don't need a coach's challenge).* *

Proposal No. 5, via Washington: All penalties that result in an automatic first down are subject to official review.* *

Proposal No. 6, via Tennessee: Referees can enforce a foul for an illegal hit against a defenseless receiver when the on-field ruling is reversed from a catch/fumble to an incomplete pass.* *

Proposal No. 7, via Indianapolis: All fouls on defenseless players are subject to official review.

Proposal No. 8, via Washington: Increase the number of coaches' challenges from two to three.* *

Proposal No. 9, via Kansas City: Expand automatic review to include plays that would result in a score or touchdown if the on-field ruling is reversed.* *

Proposal No. 11, via Chicago: Add review of the play clock to determine whether or not the ball was snapped before it expired.* *

Proposal No. 12, via New England: Place fixed cameras on all boundaries of the playing field (at every stadium) to get better angles for instant replay.* *

Proposal No. 13, via Tennessee: Allow stadium-produced video to be used for instant replay reviews (not just the television tape).* *

Proposal No. 17, via Chicago: Give both teams a possession in overtime, even if the first team with the ball scores a touchdown.* *

Here are the proposals that were tabled:

Proposal No. 14, via New England: Move extra-point attempts from the 2-yard line to the 15-yard line.* *

Proposal No. 15, via Indianapolis: Allow for a ninth possible point on scores. After a touchdown, if a team is successful on a two-point conversion, they get to attempt a 50-yard extra point.* *

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