NFL owners met in Atlanta on Tuesday and voted on three key changes for the 2012 and 2013 seasons and beyond. The following changes were made:
1.) Knee and thigh pads are mandatory starting in 2013
2.) Trade deadline moves from Week 6 to Week 8
3.) One player on IR can return later in the season
The NFLPA says the pads change represents a change in working conditions and thus must be collectively bargained so we could be seeing a battle on that front. The NFL's management council will also include the NFLPA on implementing the trade deadline and IR rules.
The one that sticks out to me is the trade deadline rule, which is now two weeks later. I think the NFL could move it back even further, like Week 12. The Kyle Orton situation last year rings a bell when talking about moving the trade deadline back but Orton was waived after the Broncos Week 11 game so his situation would not have been affected with the new trade deadline. Perhaps the Broncos would've decided to trade him prior to Week 8, with Tim Tebow winning games, if the rule were in place last year.
The IR rule is also interesting but may not have affected the Chiefs last year. Tony Moeaki, Eric Berry and Jamaal Charles all had season-ending injuries regardless of whether this rule was in place. Matt Cassel's hand injury was going to keep him out for most of the season anyway but it's possible he could've returned and this IR rule would have affected him.