It happens every season at the spring Owners’ meetings. Rule change proposals are discussed. Some pass, some fail and some are “tabled”. Let’s take a quick look at this year’s changes.
Increase the height of the uprights by 5′. Any kick above the uprights is not reviewable, so this will make more questionable field goal attempts reviewable.
Loose balls in the field of play are now reviewable. Up until last year, these were only reviewable if at a sideline or in the end zone. This change was made in response to the blown fumble recovery call in the NFC Title game by San Francisco’s NaVorro Bowman when Seattle was ruled to have possession of the ball. ( http://on.nfl.com/1m82shF )
Game clock will no longer stop after a QB sack. This makes the most sense of any other rule change. Offenses should not be “rewarded” with a clock stoppage after they give up a sack.
Enforce defensive fouls behind the line of scrimmage from the previous spot, rather than from the end of the run or from the spot of the foul. Six of one, half a dozen of the other. Sounds like simply an effort to make penalty enforcement a bit more consistent.
Protect players from getting the sides of their legs rolled up on — the rule already says a blocker can’t hit an opponent in the back of the legs, this proposal will add the side of the leg to the rule. Ultimately, the NFL seems to be seeking a block high mentality. This already is done across the NCAA. I don’t see a negative impact to the game with this change. Considering the limited real practice time (in pads and contact) under this CBA, this actually helps coaching staffs. There’s so little time to practice skills that now this won’t be taught.
During reviews, referees will now be allowed to communicate with NFL Headquarters. It’s about time! This should speed up the review process as HQ should be able to proactively start reviewing calls that could be challenged, allowing the referees to see only pre-screened camera angles.
The one rule change that will spark the most debate among players and fans alike is the goal post “dunk”, which has been banned this season. Players can no longer use the ball as a “prop” for their celebrations. Personally, I think any kind of celebration, dance, gyration, etc. is stupid and should not be part of the game. Football is a team game and celebrations typically draw attention to individuals.
Let me know your take on the rule changes!