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Top Takeaways From NFL's Spring Owners Meetings


NFL owners convened in Florida this week for the Spring League meetings, voting on several more rule changes and other league business.

Here are some of the top takeaways:

1. Pass interference replay gets tweaked again

The league is still trying to find the best solution to avoid refereeing mistakes like the one that likely cost the New Orleans Saints an appearance in the Super Bowl last season. In the March meetings, the league expanded replay to include automatic booth review of potential pass interference calls (or non-calls) in the final two minutes of a half or overtime.

But after more thought, that seemed to open up the potential for many more stoppages because pass interference could be called on so many pass plays. On Wednesday, owners passed a resolution to grant the competition committee the authority to tweak the instant replay measure, and their solution is to instead make coaches challenge calls or non-calls instead of it being in the hands of a replay official in the booth. Hail Mary plays are off limits.

2. Three drills are now banned during training camp

The NFL has asked teams to ban the use of three fairly well-known drills in training camp: Oklahoma, Bull in the Ring/King of the Circle and Half Line/3 Spot/Pods. This is for player safety in hopes of reducing concussions. The drills, especially the Oklahoma drill, are extremely physical in nature.

3. Dreaded "single-header" removed

Owners eliminated the "single-header" on a one-year trial basis, meaning all broadcast markets will now be guaranteed three televised games throughout the 2019 regular season. This is especially impactful for markets with multiple teams, including the Baltimore-Washington, D.C. area with Ravens and Redskins fans. It means fewer blackouts when both in-market teams are playing at the same time.

4. Start times for divisional playoffs changed; fewer Super Bowl commercials

The start times of Sunday Divisional playoff games will now be at 3 and 6:30 p.m. instead of 1 p.m. and 4:40 p.m. The idea behind this change is to provide the league more flexibility in using home teams from the Mountain and Pacific time zones in the early Sunday game, and to prevent teams from playing at 10 or 11 a.m. in their "home" time zone if they have to travel to the East Coast.

We'll also get fewer Super Bowl commercial interruptions, as the five breaks per quarter has been dropped to four.

5. Future draft locations determined; Combine staying in Indy

The league announced that Cleveland will host the 2021 NFL Draft and Kansas City will be the host in 2023. Las Vegas was already in place for 2020 and 2022 is unknown, though it is being held open for bigger cities, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. He named Boston, Washington, D.C., or Houston as potential candidates. The NFL Scouting Combine will also remain in Indianapolis through 2021 with annual options beyond that.

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