Ravens Propose Two NFL Rule Changes


The Ravens have a pair of intriguing rules proposals on the table ahead of the NFL owners meetings next week.

Baltimore proposed two rules changes, which will get voted on by owners next week in Boca Raton, Fla.

Here is a detailed overview of the two proposals:

Proposal No. 1:Require players to wear jersey vests with numbers appropriate for their positions.

-       An offensive player wearing the number of an ineligible receiver (Nos. 50-79, and 90-99) is permitted to line up in the position of an eligible receiver if the player enters the field wearing a jersey vest (like a practice pinnie) with an appropriate number (1-49, 80-89) for his eligible status. The jersey vest would match the color of the team uniform, and the number would not overlap with any other player on the team. The player would still have to report his status change to the officials when he enters the field.

This rule proposal is close to home for the Ravens because they got burned by the eligible-ineligible rule in last year's meeting with the Arizona Cardinals. Offensive lineman John Urschel reported as an eligible receiver, but the officials missed that declaration. Urschel then caught a key first-down pass, but the Ravens were penalized because the official did not realize the offensive lineman had reported as a receiver.

This rule change would help clear up the confusion for the officials and opposing defenses because no players would be allowed to catch a pass unless they had an eligible number or were wearing a jersey vest with an eligible number.

Proposal No. 2: Give teams three challenges and expand reviewable plays.

-        In the current rules, each team gets two challenges per game. If both of those challenges are successful, then the team is awarded a third challenge. This proposal would simply give teams three challenges per game, regardless of whether they win their first two challenges. If a team were to unsuccessfully challenge a play, they would still lose a timeout.

This proposal also asks for instant replay to make ALL plays reviewable, except:

1.      Offensive or defensive holding

2.      Offensive or defensive pass interference

3.      Illegal contact

4.      Illegal use of hands

5.      Whether a forward passer has been forcibly contacted

6.      Whether a defenseless receiver has been forcibly contacted

7.      Whether a kicker has been forcibly contacted

8.      Unsportsmanlike conduct 

Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh has long been a proponent of expanding instant replay, and he has spoken in favor of that issue at previous league meetings.

"We're on record, in Baltimore, the last four or five years, of being in favor of putting everything in instant replay that can be put in instant replay," Harbaugh said in 2014. "It's our feeling that the technology has caught up with the game in a lot of ways."

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