Mar 18, 2015 5:21 PM
Significant replay rules changes proposed in NFL
The Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) Video replays galore. More coaches' challenges. And a "bonus field goal."
All are on the agenda for next week's NFL meetings, when team owners will spend much time deciding whether 13 proposals to amend instant replay should pass.
Among the replay proposals are Detroit suggesting reviewing all penalties called by game officials yes, including pass interference and holding calls; all personal fouls; penalties against defenseless players; any foul that results in an automatic first down; and clock issues.
New England even proposed that everything except scoring plays or turnovers be challengeable. Washington suggested increasing a coach's number of challenges from two to three, regardless of whether he is successful on an early challenge.
Even stadium-produced video could be used to correct officiating errors if a suggestion by Tennessee is approved.
Currently, no penalties are reviewable. The Lions felt burned by a flag against the Dallas defense that was picked up in Detroit's loss in January.
St. Louis coach Jeff Fisher, a member of the powerful committee, made it clear that his peers wouldn't favor such a change.
"It would be our responsibility on the field whether these are fouls or not fouls," Fisher said of his fellow coaches. "This (replay review) was never designed to involve fouls."
Also to be discussed in Phoenix will be a proposal by the Patriots to place fixed cameras on all boundary lines. That would guarantee coverage of the goal lines, end lines and sidelines regardless of where network cameras are positioned.
Other proposals include moving the extra point attempt to the 15-yard line; guaranteeing both teams a possession in overtime even if one scores a touchdown on its first drive; and a scenario that gives teams that successfully convert a 2-point conversion the chance to immediately add another point from midfield with a "bonus field goal."
Indianapolis came up with the latter which, if approved, would make a nine-point deficit a one-possession game.
The Colts also proposed allowing host teams to open a retractable roof at halftime, weather permitting, to enhance fan experience.
The catch-no catch rule so heavily debated after the Cowboys' Dez Bryant had a reception overruled in the final minutes of a playoff game at Green Bay will not be changed except for some potential changes to the language of the rule.
Almost certain to be discussed is an expansion of the playoffs from 12 to 14 teams, which also would cut out one wild-card round bye per conference. The committee looked into the advantages and disadvantages last year and, according to Atlanta Falcons President Rich McKay, "from a competitive standpoint we don't think there is a competitive negative to (expanding) the playoffs."
But more playoff teams and games could remain tabled while the NFL concentrates on boosting its Thursday night TV package.
No proposals on the handling of footballs before games were made while the league awaits the Wells report on the Patriots' use of deflated footballs in the AFC championship game.
New England's use of eligible players in ineligible positions during a playoff win over Baltimore prompted a proposal that such players must line up inside the tackle box, eliminating confusion for defenses.
Because teams are running out of permitted numbers for linebackers, the committee proposed allowing numbers 40-49 to be used for the position, along with 50-59 and 90-99.
Several player safety rules will be discussed, particularly for defenseless receivers, to eliminate chop blocks by running backs outside the tackle box, to prohibit pushing ahead rushers when a team is punting, and prohibiting any peel-back blocks.
Experimenting with tighter space between the goalposts, as done in the Pro Bowl, could be done in preseason games.
Washington suggested eliminating the first cutdown in preseason to 75 players, citing player safety and development. That would make for one cut after all exhibition games are played.
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