clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

What the new 2017 NFL rule changes mean

New, comments

The NFL adopted some new rules at the owners meeting this week.

In addition to approving the Raiders' move to Las Vegas, the NFL owners and Competition Committee approved some new rules for the 2017 season. Here are some of the highlights.

1) No more leaping on field goal attempts.

Last year, several teams started to employ a strategy where a defensive player on a field goal or extra point would time the snap count and then jump directly over the head of a lineman to block the kick. No more, says the NFL and the Eagles who suggested the ban. Many teams were concerned about the safety of the blocker, who could easily be flipped and land directly on his head and neck. That's a recipe for paralysis, and thus one of the more exciting plays in football last year is verboten.

2) No more committing penalties to manipulate the game clock.

Last year, the 49ers used this strategery against the Saints in a game in which the Niners were winning and needed time to run out. So they decided to commit a holding penalty against every single possible target for Drew Brees on the field. The clock ran, and Brees had nobody to throw to, and all the Niners got was a measly five-yard penalty. It was brilliant and the only worthwhile thing the Niners did all year.

But now, any penalty designed to manipulate the clock is a fifteen-yard Unsportsmanlike Conduct foul AND the restoration of the game clock. Fair is fair.

3) The final word on replays will be handled by the unimpeachable Dean Blandino from the NFL Fortress in New York.

Referees on the field will no longer have their little peep-show booth to go into and watch the replay and possibly some naked dancing ladies as well. They will instead have tablet devices on the sideline that they will use to make the call. This new system is similar to the one employed by Major League Baseball, whose crack team of replay officials in New York usually gets the call correct within a reasonable amount of time. Woe, woe unto the NFL, which will lose precious minutes of commercial break time previously devoted to referees going into the Double Secret Probation booth and finalizing wire transfers from degenerate gamblers.

4) Makes it legal to hire new coaches and staff during the season from another team.

Often, a team which has just fired its coaching staff will target a coach from a playoff team. The current rules say the team who wants to hire him has to wait until his season is over to do so. This new rule says that if the coach's current team consents, the coach may interview and be hired at any time. This would have allowed Kyle Shanahan to be hired by the Niners during the playoffs, and whoever replaced him surely wouldn't have given up a 29-point lead in the second half of the Super Bowl. Win-win.

There are a few other rule changes as well, including one that gives a receiver running a route defenseless player protection and tightening rules for player ejections following particularly vicious hits. A rule change that may yet be upcoming is a loosening of rules concerning player celebrations, but the Competition Committee will be meeting with a group of NFL players to discuss any potential changes. The NFL really wants the "No Fun League" draconian nonsense to stop, so we'll see what comes of it.

So what do you think of these changes? Do you support a more baseball-style replay system? Should leaping be outlawed?