For his monthly "Murphy Takes 5" column on Packers.com, Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy gave a brief glimpse into the possible rules changes that will be voted upon come late March by league owners. When the regular season concludes, the league sends out a survey to head coaches and general managers asking their opinions on potential rules changes, officiating and other issues. The Competition Committee then meets in Indianapolis during the NFL Scouting Combine to discuss the results. This is also the time when the committee talks about potential new rule changes that they think will "make the game safer."
Below are some of the rule changes Murphy wrote about that the committee discussed.
- Current blocks such as chop, roll, downfield cut and peel-back.
- Whether a quarterback should be given protection when running (read-option) in the pocket
- The current "hands to the face" penalty. (They discussed if players are using a quick blow to the head as a technique and if they should be penalized for it.)
- Low hits on defenseless players and if they should be prohibited. (They will review the argument that since defensive backs can’t hit high, they’re being forced to hit low.) Of course, Randall Cobb’s injury this past season is a prime play the Committee will study.
- Eliminating the extra point. The committee will look at eliminating the PAT kick and giving teams seven points for a touchdown.
- Playoff expansion that will add a Wild Card team in each conference totaling 14 playoff teams. If this were to go through, the number of preseason games would also obviously be reduced.
- The instant replay system and whether the league should move to the college system (replay official controls), or a centralized system like they use in the NHL.
You can read Murphy’s entire column from Packers.com here. The league will vote on the proposals during the owners meetings in Orlando, Fla., from March 23-26.
Many of these proposals are old news, including the possible elimination of the PAT or the addition of two more playoff teams.
However, the added protections for running quarterbacks while in the pocket seems new and strange. Quarterbacks already have certain protections in the pocket as it is, and those are enforced inconsistently. One issue that will need to be answered is to define a quarterback as being "running in the pocket." What will these protections consist of, flags and 15-yard penalties, or something else? With all the additional protection already in place for the quarterbacks, it almost seems like the NFL should put a no-contact jersey on them and be done with it.
What do you think of these possible rules changes? Let us know in the comments.