On Tuesday, the NFL’s Competition Committee has come together at the NFL Owners Meeting to vote on the various rules changes that have been proposed by NFL teams and members of the Committee. As of Tuesday afternoon, a handful of proposals have been voted upon, and we will have a couple of new rules to keep in mind for 2017 and beyond.
Here, we will be tracking the changes that have been approved or denied by the league owners over the course of this week. Keep it here for updates throughout the meeting.
Approved Rules Changes
The Competition Committee voted to make leaping over the line of scrimmage at the snap on PATs and field goals illegal, citing player safety as the rationale.
The Committee also approved automatic ejections for helmet-to-helmet hits on defenseless receivers, though the ejections will be subject to video review. This rule is very similar to the “targeting” rule that was implemented in college football a few years ago. (NOTE: this was not actually a formal rule change, just a change in emphasis)
It’s about time. The approved proposal dictates that all replay reviews will be decided by head of officiating (currently Dean Blandino) at the NFL’s league office in New York City. Referees will be able to provide input and watch replays on a tablet, but the league will make the final call.
Other Approved Proposals
The following additional proposals were approved. Below is the language from an NFL press release on the changes:
- Makes permanent the rule that disqualifies a player who is penalized twice in one game for certain types of unsportsmanlike conduct fouls
- Changes the spot of the next snap after a touchback resulting from a free kick to the 25-yard line for one year only. (Rule is renewed, and was in place only for 2016)
- Gives a receiver running a pass route defenseless player protection
- 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
- Makes it Unsportsmanlike Conduct to commit multiple fouls during the same down designed to manipulate the game clock
- Makes actions to conserve time illegal after the two-minute warning of either half.
Moving back touchbacks when kickoffs go through the uprights
This would have been a fun and somewhat interesting rule, which proposed that if a kickoff traveled through the uprights, the receiving team would start from the 20-yard line instead of the 25. However, the Committee reportedly voted against this proposal.
This proposal was a bit odd from the start - especially the arguments that said it would not lead to more tie games. Instead, the proposal has been tabled for lack of support and OT will remain 15 minutes long during the preseason and regular season.