The Ravens are tireless and creative in their pursuit of improvement, and that also extends to the NFL's rules.
The NFL released the full list of rule proposals to be reviewed and voted on at this year's virtual owners meetings, and the Ravens are part of four of the 11 proposals.
Here are the proposals the Ravens are involved with:
- By Competition Committee, Coaches Subcommittee, and Baltimore; to amend Rule 15, Section 3, Article 9, and Rule 19, Section 2, to permit the Replay Official and designated members of the Officiating department to provide certain objective information to the on-field officials.
- By Baltimore and Philadelphia; to amend Rule 16, Section 1, to change the options for winner of an overtime coin toss, and create a true sudden death format.
- By Baltimore; to amend Rule 16, Section 1, to change the options for winner of an overtime coin toss, eliminate sudden death format, and eliminate overtime in the preseason.
- By Baltimore; to amend Rule 19, Section 1, Article 1, to add an eighth official who is positioned somewhere other than the playing field, with full communication to on-field officials and access to a television monitor.
The Ravens' innovative “Spot and Choose” overtime proposal already got a lot of attention, and widespread praise from media.
To review, Baltimore's plan would have no kickoff at the start of overtime. Instead, one team would pick what yard line play would begin at and the other team would choose whether to play offense or defense. As outlined above, there are two proposals, one with the winner determined by sudden death (first team to score) and the other with a full 7 ½-minute period to see which team finishes with the most points.
The other wrinkle in one of the Ravens' proposals is the elimination of overtime in the preseason, which seems like a no-brainer considering deciding a winner isn't all that important.
The Ravens' other rule change proposal is a familiar one. Last year, the Ravens proposed adding a "booth umpire" as an eighth official and had a separate proposal to add a Senior Technology Advisor to the Referee. This year's proposals appear to be versions of the same idea to help on-field officials make better judgements by using another referee who has the advantage of instantly seeing TV replays.
Harbaugh has on many occasions talked about how referees have a tough job seeing penalties in real-time and that fans watching at home sometimes have better information. It's a common-sense approach to help on-field referees out and speed up the game.
The proposals will reportedly be reviewed by coaches and general managers later this month and then be voted on by owners. All proposals must be approved by 75 percent of owners (24) to be adopted.
Here are the other NFL rule change proposals:
- By Competition Committee; to amend Rule 16, to eliminate overtime in the preseason.
- By Competition Committee; to amend Rule 6, Section 1, Article 3, for one year only, to establish a maximum number of players in the setup zone.
- By Competition Committee; to amend Rule 12, Section 2, Article 4, to expand the prohibition on blocking below the waist by offensive and defensive players on scrimmage downs when contact occurs beyond five yards on either side of the line of scrimmage and more than two yards outside of either offensive tackle.
- By Chicago; to amend Rule 11, Section 3, Article 3, to ensure the enforcement of all accepted penalties committed by either team during successive try attempts.
- By Los Angeles Rams; to amend Rule 8, Section 1, Article 2, to add a loss of down for a second forward pass from behind the line and for a pass thrown after the ball returns behind the line.
- By Kansas City; to amend Rule 5, Section 1, Article 2, to expand jersey number options for certain positions.
- By Philadelphia; to amend Rule 6, Section 1, Article 1, to permit a team to maintain possession of the ball after a score by substituting one offensive play (4th and 15 from the kicking team's 25-yard line) for an onside kickoff attempt.
Kansas City's proposal to extend the parameters for jersey numbers got Ravens players' attention.