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NFL Competition Committee Recommends Rule Changes

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This Monday, Palm Beach, Florida will play host to the annual NFL Owners Meeting. During this meeting, the top men from each of the league's 32 teams come together to discuss rules changes and ways to make the game better. This year, the NFL Competition Committee has recommended several changes to the league's rules and by-laws, all of which will be considered by the full body of owners.

The rules changes being proposed to the owners are:

  1. Replay officials will conduct replays. No longer would the referee determine the outcome of a replay challenge,
  2. Horse collar tackles against a quarterback in the pocket would now be illegal. Currently, a quarterback in the pocket is the only time a horse collar tackle - bringing a player down by yanking on the shoulder pads or inside or the jersey from behind - is legal.
  3. The league's playoff overtime rule, where a touchdown is the only way for the offense win the game on the first possession of overtime, would now be included in the regular season.
  • The too many men on the field penalty would now be a dead-ball penalty if the team lines up For more than four seconds, or the snap is imminent. The penalty would be five-yards.
  • Kicking a loose ball would now include a loss of downs.
  • The "defenseless" players rule would be expanded to include defensive players. Crack-back hits against a defenders head Or neck would now be illegal.
  • Turnovers would now be automatically reviewed, similar to the way all scoring plays are reviewed now.
  • The Competition Committee has also sent six proposed changes to the league's bylaws to the owners:

    1. The trade deadline would move from after Week 6 to after Week 8.
    2. Offseason and training camp rosters would be expanded to 90 players. Unsigned draft picks, which currently are not counted toward a team's roster limits, would now be counted.
    3. Final cut down day before the regular season would move from Saturday to Friday night, in order to give the teams participating in the Kickoff game on Thursday night (this season it will be on Wednesday night) an extra day of preparation with their 53-man roster.
    4. Thanksgiving and Christmas game participants would be given extra roster exemptions for those weeks.
    5. Players placed on Injured Reserve would be eligible to return during the season. If a player was on the roster after Week 1, and is then placed on IR, the player will be able to return to practice six weeks after being placed on injured reserve, and can return to game play after eight weeks.
    6. A team may place one player per week on a roster exemption if that player has a concussion.

    None of these proposed changes are finalized, pending a vote from the team owners. However, if a changed is proposed by the Competition Committee, it typically is approved by the owners.

    The Owners Meetings will be Monday through Wednesday of next week.