As mentioned in our earlier post this week the NFL owners met this week for one of their annual meetings and the big question on this meeting's agenda was expanding from a 16 game schedule to a 17 game schedule beginning this upcoming season. As expected it passed nearly unanimously except for the one no vote from the Chicago Bears who I guess could not take any more Bears football than necessary. Beyond that, there was a whole slew of other rule changes that were introduced for the owners to look over and think about before the final vote on each proposal when they meet again in May.
Any proposed rule changes in the NFL are either introduced by the NFL’s Competition Committee or individual teams or the coaches subcommittee with the league office officially having no real say directly in the rules changes. Despite the league office having no direct say on these rules or the changes to them, the commissioner has, in the past, made recommendations to the Competition Committee. The NFL’s Players Association, aka the players union, has also in the past made recommendations to the committee and the individual teams or to the committee via the commissioner's office or had rules changed themselves via the collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and the NFLPA.
Most recently some of these suggested changes came via the commissioner's office when they were looking at giant lawsuits from former players due to lasting and deadly consequences to those players that suffered severe head trauma due to multiple concussions via playing in the NFL. I have though also always wondered why the NCAA was not included in those lawsuits. I understand that many players spent more time in the NFL than in college but many suffered their first or their first few concussions in college and perhaps even as far back as high school or even earlier or even in other sports that they played in college and high school. But we all know that the lawers always go after the deepest pockets.
The NFL Competition Committee, for those who are unaware, is made up of coaches, general managers, team owners, and team presidents from around the league. For those of us that are old enough, we can remember that the late great Don Shula was a long-time fixture of the Competition Committee, having a big impact on the NFL at that time and the version of the NFL that we still have to this day. The current make up for those who might be curious is as follows-
- Rich McKay – Atlanta Falcons
- John Mara – New York Giants
- Stephen Jones – Dallas Cowboys
- Mark Murphy – Green Bay Packers
- Ozzie Newsome – Baltimore Ravens
- Mike Tomlin – Pittsburgh Steelers
- John Elway – Denver Broncos
- Sean Payton – New Orleans Saints
- Ron Rivera – Washington Football Team
It’s a fairly respectable group and we can all thank God that the NFL chose Stephen Jones and not crazy Jerry Jones as a representative from the Dallas Cowboys. Stephen is the more practical son of Jerry who tries his damndest to keep his old man in check but Jerry gonna be Jerry. The Coaches Subcommittee is made up of current and former NFL head coaches. Like the Competition Committee, both are overseen by the league office under the direction of former Miami Dolphins (among other teams) cornerback Troy Vincent.
So the biggest rule changes recommended by the three factions are as follows-
The NFL’s Competition Committee-
- Recommended the elimination of overtime for pre-season games.
- Expand the prohibition on blocking below the waist by offensive and defensive players on scrimmage downs when contact occurs beyond five yards on either side of the line of scrimmage and more than two yards outside of either offensive tackle.
Individual NFL Teams-
- (Philadephia Eagles) Instead of an onside kick allow a team to try to convert a fourth and 15 yards to go play to retain possession of the ball.
- (Baltimore Ravens, Competition Committee, coaches subcommittee) Allow replay official and designated members of the officiating department to provide certain objective information to the on-field officials. This rule would allow the replay official to help correct a call before it actually has to go through the full replay process.
- (Baltimore Ravens) Implement a spot and choose overtime rule. Under this rule, one team would get to pick where the ball is spotted in overtime and the opposing team would pick whether it wants to play on offense or defense.
- (Los Angeles Rams) Add a loss of down for a second forward pass from behind the line of scrimmage and for a pass thrown after the ball returns behind the line of scrimmage. This rule comes from the fact that the Rams were nearly burned on a two-pass play by Tom Brady last season and they are proposing this rule to avoid it from happening again.
- (Kansas City Chiefs) Expand jersey number options for certain positions. If passed the rule would then allow running backs, defensive backs, and linebackers to wear 1 through 19 while wide receivers would also be allowed to wear 1 through 19 along with the normal 80 through 89.
So tonight’s Phinsider Question Of The Day is which of these rules are you in favor of, which do you oppose and why? What rule changes do you not see proposed that you think need to be implemented and why?
Give us your thoughts below-
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