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NFL owners to vote on 15 proposed rule changes


NFL Owners will vote on 15 proposed rule changes at the NFL Annual Meeting:

The NFL Annual Meeting kicks off Sunday in Phoenix, where owners will vote on 15 playing rule changes. Seven were proposed by clubs this year, while eight came from the Competition Committee. Here they are:

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1. By Philadelphia; Gives additional protections for long snappers on kick plays.

  1. By Philadelphia; Prohibits the "leaper" block attempt on field goal and extra point plays.
  1. By Philadelphia; Expands the "crown of helmet" foul to include "hairline" part of helmet.
  1. By Philadelphia; Amends the challenge system by granting a third challenge if a club is successful on at least one of its initial two challenges, and expands reviewable plays outside of two minutes of each half.
  1. By Washington; Eliminates the limit of three total challenges per team per game and eliminates the requirement that a team be successful on each of its first two challenges in order to be awarded a third challenge.
  1. By Washington; Moves the line of scrimmage to the 20-yard line for any touchback where the free kick travels through the uprights.
  1. By Buffalo and Seattle; Permits a coach to challenge any officials' decision except scoring plays and turnovers.
  1. By Competition Committee; Makes permanent the rule that disqualifies a player who is penalized twice in one game for certain types of unsportsmanlike conduct fouls.
  1. By Competition Committee; Changes the spot of the next snap after a touchback resulting from a free kick to the 25-yard line for one year only.
  1. By Competition Committee; Reduces the length of preseason and regular season overtime periods to 10 minutes.
  1. By Competition Committee; Gives a receiver running a pass route defenseless player protection.
  1. By Competition Committee; Makes crackback blocks prohibited by a backfield player who is in motion, even if he is not more than two yards outside the tackle when the ball is snapped.
  1. By Competition Committee; Replaces the sideline replay monitor with a hand-held device and authorizes designated members of the Officiating department to make the final decision on replay reviews.
  1. By Competition Committee; Makes it Unsportsmanlike Conduct to commit multiple fouls during the same down designed to manipulate the game clock.
  1. By Competition Committee; Makes actions to conserve time illegal after the two-minute warning of either half.


NFL Senior Vice President of Officiating Dean Blandino broke down the proposals on a conference call this week. Here are the highlights from that:

• "I think the one player safety change that will probably garner a lot of discussion is the jumper, the leaper, on field goal and extra points. This is a proposal that would eliminate that technique and prevent a player from crossing the line of scrimmage to block a field goal or an extra point. So that is being proposed."

• "Our two changes from last year -- the touchback at the 25, which was a one-year only for the 2016 season, the committee was pleased with the results. Touchbacks were up, the lowest rate of return in NFL history at 39.3 percent of our kickoffs returned. So the committee is proposing that for another year, to get another year's worth of data, then evaluate that after the 2017 season. The unsportsmanlike conduct automatic ejection rule, which was another one-year proposal for 2016, that is being proposed permanently. We led to three ejections in that area, and that was two unsportsmanlike conduct fouls in the same game would lead to an automatic ejection. So that will be proposed permanently.

• "I think the last two that will garner most of the attention will be the replay changes. One giving New York, the designated members of the officiating department – myself, my supervisory staff – final say over the replay decision, with input from the referee. And I think that's important to remember, we're not taking the referee out of the equation. The referee will still be involved, the referee will still give input, but will no longer have the final say. And the way the referee actually views the play will change, where we'll be going away from the sideline under the hood monitor to a handheld tablet device, where the referee can view the play on the sideline-not the field of play, but on the sideline, but not have to go all the way over to the wall and go under the hood and go through that process."

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