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NFL Owners To Review Rule Changes At Meeting Next Week

There are a ton of proposals to go over in Arizona next week.

Los Angeles Rams Owner Stan Kroenke
Los Angeles Rams Owner Stan Kroenke
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL’s Annual League Meeting takes place in Phoenix, Arizona from March 26-29. There’s plenty on the docket to resolve, chiefly a vote on whether or not to allow the Oakland Raiders to relocate to Las Vegas.

Along with the normal operational stuff are the proposed changes to the league’s rules, bylaws and resolutions:

Rule Proposals

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

This one would give a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty for a defender who contacts the snapper within a second of snapping the ball. The defender could be ejected from the game if the contact is “flagrant.”

2. By Philadelphia: Prohibits the “leaper” block attempt on field goal and extra point plays.

This would ban the ol’ Daren Bates play.

3. By Philadelphia: Expands the “crown of helmet” foul to include “hairline” part of helmet.

I’m not even sure how they’re going to be able to see that tiny threshold between the hairline and the facemasak, but w/e.

4. 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.

This is really two different proposals. One is to grant a third challenge if you win just one of your other two instead of the current rule to grant an extra one if you win both.

The second part is to expand reviewable penalties to everything except holding (offensive and defensive), pass interference (offensive and defensive), illegal contact and unsportsmanlike conduct.

5. 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.

This one goes even further getting rid of the limit itself. You could have 40 challenges as long as every one is successful. Doubt this goes through with the amount of pressure there is right now to shorten broadcasts.

6. By Washington: Moves the line of scrimmage to the 20-yard line for any touchback where the free kick travels through the uprights.

This one’s kinda nuts, but I like it. If you essentially make a field goal off of a kickoff, the touchback would put the ball at the 20. Otherwise, it gets set at the 25. As of now, kickoffs are from the 35-yard line, so it’d be a 75-yard field goal. Back in November, Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh and K Justin Tucker said they wanted to make it a 1-point play if you could get it through on a kickoff. And bear in mind, last year the touchback was moved to the 25-yard line while the year before moved the kickoff itself to the 35-yard line. Kickoffs are constantly being tinkered with because kickoffs are dangerous so the league hates them and kickers are weird so owners hate them.

Regardless of whether this passes, we’re gonna see more changes next year. and every year.

7. By Buffalo and Seattle: Permits a coach to challenge any officials’ decision except scoring plays and turnovers.

Big push to allow more game actions to be reviewed. Expect this will be debated in earnest even if it potentially lengthens broadcast time.

8. 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.

Unsportsmanlike conduct? Well, it’s the ol’ sayin, friend. Two strikes and you’re out. No, two strikes. Yes, it is the saying. Ok, well maybe it wasn’t, but it is now. Also, that’s now the rules in baseball.

9. 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.

Tinker away. In 10 years all kicks will take place at the 10-yard line and may only be returned by an offensive lineman and if you can get it to hit both goalposts you get 10 points.

10. By Competition Committee: Reduces the length of preseason and regular season overtime periods to 10 minutes.


11. By Competition Committee: Gives a receiver running a pass route defenseless player protection.

Big can of worms here. Here’s the specific language:

A receiver running a pass route. If the receiver becomes a blocker or assumes a blocking posture, he is no longer a defenseless player.

I’d guess this doesn’t pass, but could get some serious deliberation and lead to something passable next year.

12. 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.

I had no idea there was a 2-yard limitation. This seems 0% chance of passing.

13. 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.

Pretty sure this was provided from Microsoft for more Surface product placement. Watch it on a monitor or a tablet or who gives a hot damn. Just get the calls right.

14. By Competition Committee: Makes it Unsportsmanlike Conduct to commit multiple fouls during the same down designed to manipulate the game clock.

Interesting one here. I like the idea, but not sure how you would know those fouls were expressly committed to run down clock instead of just penalties. I mean...if you’re telling me Greg Robinson committed all those penalties just to run down clock...

15. By Competition Committee: Makes actions to conserve time illegal after the two-minute warning of either half.

Changes all the time conservation penalties that apply to stuff with under 1 minute to go to apply to stuff with under 2 minutes to go. Why not.

Bylaw Proposals

1. By Washington: Amends Article XVII, Section 17.1 to eliminate the mandatory cutdown to 75 Active List players.

This would just go from the 90-man to the 53-man in one fell swoop. I kinda like the 75-man cut because it forces the usage of the guys from 75 to 53 in like your roster power rankings over the final preseason games. Those guys from 75-90 are taking snaps away from them in the first place. But then again, Washington loves to propose stupid rules every year.

2. By Washington: Amends Article XVII, Section 17.14 to place a player who has suffered a concussion, and who has not been cleared to play, on the club’s Exempt List, and be replaced by a player on the club’s Practice Squad on a game-by-game basis until the player is cleared to play.

This is silly. Concussions are injuries. Quit playin around.

3. By Washington: Amends Article XIX, Sections 19.8(B) and 19.9(B) to permit clubs to opt out of the “color rush” jerseys created for Thursday Night Football.

What are you even doing. Seriously. Their reason for the bylaw change? “Garish uniforms.” That’s the point of Color Rush, you dipshits.

4. By Competition Committee: Liberalizes rules for timing, testing, and administering physical examinations to draft-eligible players at a club’s facility for one year only.

Opens up some new details on medical testing. Seems like a no-brainer since drafting guys with legit injuries should get as comprehensive a medical check as possible.

5. By Competition Committee: Changes the procedures for returning a player on Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform or Reserve/Non-Football Injury or Illness to the Active List to be similar to those for returning a player that was Designated for Return.

Extends the rules past a team’s 11th game of the season. Seems fair to me.

6. By Competition Committee; The League office will transmit a Personnel Notice to clubs on Sundays during training camp and preseason.

More content for TST. I like it!

2017 Resolution Proposals

1. By Philadelphia: Amends the NFL’s On-Field Policy to allow clubs to have an alternate helmet in a color to match their third uniform.

This one’s interesting for all you uniform lovers.

So right now, the only alternate helmet color you can use is from your current color scheme. This would allow you to have a different color for the helmets. #freedom

2. By Competition Committee: Permits a club to negotiate and reach an agreement with a head coach candidate during the postseason prior to the conclusion of the employer club’s season.

Ooh, legal tampering. Not sure if I like this one for practicality sake, but sneakiness is always fun to cover.

3. By Competition Committee: Permits a contract or non-contract non-football employee to interview with and be hired by another club during the playing season, provided the employer club has consented.


Stay tuned next week. We’ll cover all the happenings in Arizona.