The first one is Washington proposing to move the kickoff to the 40-yard line for safety and historic consistency reasons. The second proposal from Washington is to expand instant replay to include personal foul penalties. The third one from Washington is to eliminate overtime periods in preseason games for player safety reasons.
The next four are proposals from New England. The first one is to extend the goal post an additional five feet above the cross bar. The reasoning for this proposal is definitive rulings cannot be made on many field goal tries that cross over the top of the goal post. The next proposal from New England is to move the line of scrimmage for extra points to the defensive team’s 25-yard line in order to make the point after a more competitive play. The next one from New England is to put fixed cameras on all boundary lines, the sideline, end line, and end zone to supplement the TV cameras and to guarantee coverage of those lines for replay no matter where the TV cameras are located. The final rule proposal from New England is to permit a coach to challenge any official’s decision, except scoring plays, to make more extensive use of the replay system. Those are proposals one through seven.
Rich McKay: I have playing rule proposal number eight, which is a player safety rule. All it does is extend – we granted what we call ‘roll-up’ protection or protection from players rolling up the back of a player’s legs – we’re going to extend that protection from the back to the sides. It really just takes Rule 12, Section 2, Article 1 and inserts the two words that say ‘or side’ right next to where it says the blocker cannot roll up on the back of the legs of a defender. It will now say “roll up on the back or side of the legs of a defender.” We saw some plays on tape that we just felt like we needed to expand that protection.
Jeff Fisher: Playing rule proposal number nine submitted by the Competition Committee is going to allow the referee to consult with members of the NFL officiating department during replay reviews. It’s not going to change the process. The process will be the same. The replay review will be initiated by the booth, depending on what happens on the field, or by the coach. The referee will go to the booth and talk to the observer, but during that process, our command center in New York headed by Dean Blandino will already be reviewing the play. At the end of the day, what’s going to happen is we’re going to make sure that every single review is correct and we feel like this will speed up the instant replay process and timing.
Rule proposal number 10 also relates to instant replay. The first thing it does is basically reorganizes Article 4. Article 4 is the list in our rule book of all of our reviewable plays. Article 5 is a list of all of the non-reviewable plays. Dean and his staff have done a great job reorganizing and cleaning up Article 4 so it makes sense because we were adding things to replay here and there over the last few years. It just makes sense as an easier read. The second part of rule proposal number 10 is going to include the recovery of a loose ball in the field of play. For example, the (NaVorro) Bowman play this year. Our current system does not include that. When the ball is ruled dead, it is dead. It is not reviewable. Now under this rule, as long as the ball is in the field of play and there is a clear recovery on the field of play, then the play can be not only reviewed, but overturned.
McKay: Playing rule proposal number 11 is a simple clock change that would take away the stopping of the clock on a sack. We have for a long time allowed the clock to stop on a sack and then we took that away for the final two minutes, both the warning at half and at the end of the game. Now, we’re going to allow the clock to continue to run on any sack.
Playing rule proposal number 12 is a modification of the pass interference rule. The modification is eliminating the one-yard boundary. The way the rule is written, acts that do not occur more than one yard beyond the line of scrimmage are not pass interference, but could be defensive holding. We’ve eliminated the more than one yard beyond the line of scrimmage. There are a number of plays that are occurring and involve either rub routes or kick routes and the intent of this is to move the pass interference line to the line of scrimmage. Fisher: Proposal number 13 is a penalty enforcement proposal that involves defensive fouls behind the line of scrimmage, not across the line of scrimmage. There are a number of things taking place as far as enforcement is concerned. It can be confusing, but I’ll give you an example. Let’s say we have a facemask penalty by a defensive player on the quarterback, and the quarterback still escapes and he is tackled two yards short of the line of scrimmage. The officiating department has to decide where the spot is to enforce the penalty to where it most benefits the offense. In this case, it would be at the end of the run. We have other instances that involve change of possession and so on and so forth. Basically, this proposal number 13 is going to simplify everything; clean it all up; make sure we don’t have any issues. We have a lot of conferences and there are a lot of things that can happen with the enforcement. When it’s all said and done, we’re going to enforce from the previous spot rather than the end of the run or the spot of the foul. We think it really cleans things up from a rule enforcement standpoint.
We have seven bylaw proposals and I will go through the first six quickly. The first five are from Washington. Washington is proposing to raise the number of active-list players from 46 to 49 for regular season games played on days other than Sunday or Monday, excluding the opening weekend of the season. Again, raise the active list for game day from 46 to 49 for games played on days other than Sunday or Monday, for player safety reasons.
Bylaw proposal number two, again from Washington, would raise the practice squad limit from eight to 10 players, also for player safety reasons.
Bylaw proposal three, from Washington, would permit clubs to trade players prior to the start of the league year. The thinking would be to give players under contract the chance to earn their current contract rather than being cut.
Bylaw proposal four, from Washington, would eliminate the roster cut down to 75 and have just one cut down to 53; for player safety and player development reasons.
Bylaw proposal five, again from Washington, would permit more than one player to return to the active list from injured reserve during the season. In other words, any player on injured reserve could return after six weeks on IR to the active list to provide more roster flexibility.
Bylaw proposal number six is from Philadelphia. It would permit each club to time and test, at its facility, 10 players who attended the Combine and permit clubs to attend any timing or testing at another club’s facility that involves three or more draft-eligible players. Jeff will give you bylaw proposal number seven.
Fisher: Proposal number seven, from the committee, would adjust the time of roster reduction to 53, after the fourth preseason game, on Saturday. Adjust it from 6:00 PM ET to 4:00 PM ET time. All teams have to have their lists in by 4:00 PM ET. We think it makes the final cut down much more efficient on the front end. There is plenty of time. The west coast teams have time to get their lists in. On the back end we have more time to go through our potential waivers. This is only if there is no Friday preseason games [in the final week]. I think everybody has gone to Thursday now. If there is a Friday preseason game we would push it back to 6:00 PM. For more info click here
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