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NFL Passes New Rules For 2017

Here are all the rule changes coming for the 2017 NFL season.

NFL Referees and Former Los Angeles Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Heading into the weekend, we covered all the proposals of new rules, bylaws and resolutions. Today at the NFL League Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, owners voted on those changes.

Here’s what passed and will take effect for the 2017 season.

Approved Rules Proposals

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

Strangely, this one passed. The Los Angeles Rams’ official site has a quote from NFL Vice President of Officiating Dean Blandino:

The issue, we've looked at a lot of tape on the jumper, is how it's being defended at this point; whether it's the snapper or the guard raising up and attempting to make contact with the jump, we've seen several examples where players have been flipped over, land on their head, their neck, and the potential for a serious injury certainly increases when you have a player in a vulnerable position who is now going to be knocked off balance and really can't control the way they land. So I think that's probably the biggest thing.

This is...strange. This is the NFL preemptively changing a rule to prevent injury before an injury has actually happened.

It’s a horrible precedent to set for such a violent game. Think of all the other players that set players up in “a vulnerable position.” Are we going to see the NFL begin to outlaw jumping in general? The logic here is overwhelmingly broken.

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.

Think of unsportsmanlike conduct penalties like yellow cards in soccer. This one seems rational.

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.

They’re giving it another year at the 25. Will be interesting to see if the numbers bear out that teams start getting touchbacks more often as the change is intended to create.

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

Welp. I don’t like this one as much, but I think coaches on the offensive side of the ball are going to have to start using routes over the middle of the field more. The league is incorporating so many protections for them. It’s likely going to be prohibitive not to exploit those protections.

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.

Yeah, this is fine. Crackback blocks on guys in motion was always dangerous regardless of how far they were outside the the tackles.

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.

Won’t be up to the referees to review plays anymore. Instead, a centralized office in New York led by Blandino. Perhaps wise to centralize, but the chances they get the logistics worked out in year one and everyone’s happy with the outcome of every call?

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

My issue here was proving complicity, but I’m cool with them going for it. Referees already have that kind of authority in so many other cases anyway.

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

Just extended the one-minute boundary to the two-minute warning. Me likey.

Approved Bylaw Proposals

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.

This one only helps draft preparation. Seems warranted.

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.

I’m not a fan of the midseason deadlines for roster commitments. If a guy can come back for the playoffs, why not let him?

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


Approved Resolution Proposals

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.

This silliness of having to wait until the season was over to talk to employed coaches was silly. Do you have to quit your job to talk to potential employers? No. LET ASSISTANT COACHES LIVE.

Overall, most the changes were relatively minor and won’t have a major effect on the stuff most fans care about. Once they get centralized replay right (and please Lord on High let that be before December), I think we’ll all adjust. The leaping thing isn’t a huge change for the rule itself, but I hate the precedent.

The only one I think that could have a major effect is the ejection for a pari of unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. Much like a yellow card, a player might earn the first fairly, but imagine they pick up a second on a very subjective play. Many of those penalties are made at the discretion of the referee/s. If we’re into late season or postseason football and someone gets ejected on a very subjective call that would have previously just been a penalty but now ejects a key player? That’s where I wonder if this rule is going to require a bit more adjusment...or unsportsmanlike conduct penalties in general.

What do you think about the new rules? Any concerns? Does this ruin the game of football for you and are the No Fun League that hands out participation trophies to every one as we’re creating a nanny state that emasculates processes to help even the playing field for ethical applications that inherently weaken the entertainment value of historically male pursuits? Please use the comments on an internet site to respond to that last one!