NFL owners will meet next week in Phoenix, and one of the items they’ll be considering is a slate of rule changes put forward by the league’s competition committee, along with some proposed by the Kansas City Chiefs and other teams.
As we reported a couple of weeks ago, the Chiefs have a couple of proposals in the works. One of them is about overtime rules, and has three parts:
The Chiefs have proposed that overtime be eliminated from preseason games, which makes perfect sense; there’s little reason for meaningless preseason games to be extended because they are tied at the end of regulation.
The Chiefs have also proposed that the coin flip be eliminated from overtime. Instead, the team that won the opening toss would have the same options they do at the beginning of the game: to decide whether they will kick or receive. The other team would then chose which goal to defend.
But third part of the Chiefs proposal will only make sense if the second part is also adopted: in overtime, each team will be guaranteed at least one possession of the ball.
The Chiefs have also proposed allowing coaches to challenge personal fouls without regard to whether they were called on the field. Several teams have proposed similar rules that would apply to other player safety fouls.
The Philadelphia Eagles would like to see scoring plays and turnovers negated by a foul — for example, an offside penalty that wipes out an interception in a playoff game — to be subject to automatic instant replay review. The Denver Broncos would like to see the same thing for all fourth down and goal line plays spotted short of the line of gain, as well as extra-point and two-point conversions.
The Washington Redskins, on the other hand, have a much-simpler proposal: make all plays reviewable.
So if it already wasn’t clear, many teams would like to see expansion of instant replay review.
They might not get their wish on their individual proposals, but the league will be considering a proposal from the competition committee that is inspired by several of the team proposals — and could stand a better chance of passing: a one-year experiment that would expand the list of reviewable plays to include pass interference, and extend automatic reviews to scoring plays negated by a foul and all post-touchdown conversions.
The owners will also consider a rule that would make blindside blocks illegal — punishable by a 15-yard penalty — and another that would eliminate the coin toss as the final tiebreaker to determine draft order. Instead, best net touchdowns and best net points would be used.
Finally, the Broncos have proposed a rule similar to one now used in the AAF — one that would allow a team to try a fourth-and-15 conversion at their own 35-yard line instead of attempting an onside kick; if the conversion fails, the other team would take over where the play ends. In the AAF, it’s a fourth-and-12 from the 28, and can only be attempted when the team is behind by at least 17 points, or when they are trailing with less than five minutes to play. The Broncos proposal would instead allow a team just one chance per game to try the alternative method, and only in the fourth quarter.
Hopefully the Broncos proposal includes language that the team must be trailing in order to try the alternative method. Otherwise, the New England Patriots might try it when they are leading in the fourth quarter.
For rule changes to take effect, they must receive votes from 24 of the 32 team owners.