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League rules are changing at the NFL meetings in Phoenix

Proposed rule changes are among the things on which NFL owners are voting Tuesday

Houston Texans v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images

As NFL league meetings continue in Phoenix on Tuesday, league owners are voting on a number or proposed rule changes — including some proposed by the Kansas City Chiefs.

All of the rules adopted (so far) today were put forth by the league’s Competition Committee. According to reports, the Denver Broncos’ proposal to add an alternative to the onside kick similar to that used by the AAF was voted down, and league tabled the Chiefs’ proposal to change overtime rules until the league meetings in May.

Speaking on PFT Live on Tuesday, Chiefs owner Clark Hunt said he feels good about the chance the overtime proposal will pass in May, and it might apply only to the postseason.

Many reports coming out of Phoenix on Tuesday painted a picture of a divide between NFL coaches and owners on several different proposals to expand replay in 2019. It appears that the coaches overwhelmingly support some kind of replay expansion, but the owners are resisting any change — particularly if it involves the review of uncalled fouls.

According to NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport, there was some drama in the coaches meeting on Monday — including a scene starring Chiefs head coach Andy Reid and New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick — which eventually resulted in an extra owners meeting being scheduled on Tuesday to discuss the concerns of their coaches.

Meanwhile... here are three significant changes voted into the NFL rules during Tuesday morning’s owners meeting:

  • Makes permanent the kickoff rule changes that were implemented during the 2018 season.

Those new kickoff rules used during the 2018 season? They’re now a permanent part of the NFL rule book after the one-year experiment did exactly what the league hoped it would do: reduce injuries on kickoff plays, which had been identified as among the most dangerous plays in NFL games. The new rules also made it very difficult to recover an onside kick, so even though the Broncos’ attempt to create an alternative to the onside kick has failed, expect to see more proposals like it in the future.

  • Allows teams to elect to enforce on the succeeding try or on the succeeding free kick an opponent’s personal or unsportsmanlike conduct foul committed during a touchdown.

This one sounds innocuous, but it could have a surprisingly large impact. Suppose your team is called for a taunting or celebration penalty on a touchdown play. Under the old rules, a 15-yard penalty would have been enforced on the following kickoff. But now, the other team could (and probably will) elect for the foul to be enforced on the conversion play. That means your team would have to convert a 47-yard kick for an extra point, or get to the end zone from the 17 for a two-point conversion. Expect smart coaches to emphasize avoiding these penalties, as they could now be very costly.

  • Expands protection to a defenseless player.

Two more changes were adopted, too:

  • Changes the enforcement of double fouls when there is a change of possession.
  • Simplifies the application of scrimmage kick rules for missed field goals.

We’ll keep you updated as the league meetings continue.

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