The NFL owners have approved several rule changes, headlined by the banning of the “leap” block on field goals and extra points, prohibiting players from running and jumping over the long snapper. The league also made three bylaw changes and a resolution change. The full list of changes can be found below, with all of the proposed changes listed, with explanations, here.
Approved 2017 Playing Rules Proposals
2a. By Philadelphia; Prohibits the “leaper” block attempt on field goal and extra point plays. (Final language will be available on NFLCommunications.com)
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.
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.
11. By Competition Committee; Gives a receiver running a pass route defenseless player protection.
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.
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.
14. By Competition Committee; Makes it Unsportsmanlike Conduct to commit multiple fouls during the same down designed to manipulate the game clock.
15. By Competition Committee; Makes actions to conserve time illegal after the two-minute warning of either half.
Approved 2017 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.
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.
6. By Competition Committee; The League office will transmit a Personnel Notice to clubs on Sundays during training camp and preseason.
Approved 2017 Resolution Proposal
G-4. 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.
The Phinsider thoughts
None of the rule changes that were approved are surprises. The leaping prohibition seemed like one that a lot of people supported for safety reasons, both for the leaper and for the long snapper. The replay change should help speed up the game some and should make replay a little more standard across the league. The league clearly wanted to do something about the multiple penalties on the same play as a way to kill the clock, and rule change 14 should accomplish that.
In the bylaw changes, the testing of prospects is designed to make it more uniform across the league as to what determines a “local” prospect and when/how testing, timing, and physicals may be conducted by the teams. The Non-Football Injury and Physically Unable to Perform list change just removed the end date when a player can return, and the final bylaw change just makes waivers and claims possible on Sundays throughout training camp and the preseason.
The resolution change allows teams to grant permission for some employees to be interviewed by other teams during the regular season. The basic concept is that some employees are more important in the offseason, as compared to their in-season roles, so this will allow teams to conduct that side of the business during the season.
There were several replay changes that did not get approved, including allowing a coach to retain a challenge as long as he gets at least one challenge correctly, either with a limit on three total challenges or with no limit, as well as changing how many things can be challenged during a game. The owners also did not approve an interesting proposal from the Washington Redskins that would have allowed kickoffs that fly through the uprights to be awarded touchbacks at the 20-yard line, rather than at the 25-yard line as the extension of the one-year test period allows now. It provides incentive for the kicker to try to put the ball through the uprights, and it would aid in the league trying to make touchbacks more common, getting rid of the full-speed collisions of players during returns.
The league also did not adopt the 10-minute overtime, which was much discussed prior to the vote. That change, from 15 minutes down to 10 minutes, would have been for both the preseason and the regular season, but there was concern that it could lead to more ties.
The removal of the 75-man cut-down date was not approved either. The Redskins had asked that the roster size just continue to be 90 through to the end of the preseason, but the owners did not make that change to their bylaws. They also did not approve the idea of being able to place a player with a concussion on an exempt list, giving the team the ability to promote a practice squad player for any weeks in which the concussed player does not pass the concussion protocols.
I would have really liked to see the league approve the Philadelphia Eagles’ resolution change proposal that would have allowed each team to have an alternate helmet to go with their alternate jerseys. It would have allowed for more throwback styles, especially the creamsicle jerseys from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
What do you think of the rule changes? Any of the proposed changes that you thought would pass or should have passed?