Owners from all 32 teams are meeting this week in Phoenix, Arizona for the annual league meetings. On the docket are 17 potential playing rule changes. Some of the topics up for debate include replay, overtime, and onside kicks.
Both of last year’s conference title games ended in controversy. The AFC game between the New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs went to overtime. If you recall, in the extra period the Chiefs offense never touched the field. The Patriots won the coin toss and needed only one possession to drive down the field for the win.
The Saints were victim of a terrible missed pass interference call late in the fourth quarter of the NFC title game which cost them an opportunity to milk the clock and end the game with a potential game winning field. As we know that is not the way things played out.
The NFL took it on the chin in the weeks following the championship games. It’s never a good look for the league when headlines in the paper are less about player performances and more about officiating and rules.
Here are the three notable potential changes.
1. To amend Rule 15, Section 2 for one year only to expand the reviewable plays in instant replay to include fouls for pass interference; also expands automatic replay reviews to include scoring plays and turnovers negated by a foul, and any Try attempt (extra point or two-point conversion).
2. To amend Rule 16 to (1) allow both teams the opportunity to possess the ball at least one time in overtime, even if the first team to possess the ball in overtime scores a touchdown; (2) eliminate overtime for preseason; and (3) eliminate overtime coin toss so that winner of initial coin toss to begin game may choose whether to kick or receive, or which goal to defend.
3. To amend Rule 6, Section 1, Article 1 to provide an alternative to the onside kick that would allow a team who is trailing in the game an opportunity to maintain possession of the ball after scoring. (Trailing team would have opportunity to convert a 4th and 15 from the opponents 35 yard line)
One rule change that has been voted on and will take effect is to expand protection of players being blocked. Owners voted to eliminate blindside blocks which have become a very dangerous part of the game.
To expand protection of the player being blocked, @NFL owners voted to eliminate blindside blocks. One-third of all concussions on punts were caused by blindside blocks. With the rule change, any forcible contact by the blocker with his head, shoulder or forearm is prohibited. pic.twitter.com/abA2cENnXe— NFL Football Operations (@NFLFootballOps) March 26, 2019
There were five rules that have been adopted today.