NFL proposing changes to rules and bylaws this week

Posted Mar 17, 2013

Challenge rule that hurt Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving Day proposed to be changed at NFL Owners Meetings

PHOENIX, Ariz. -- The NFL's Competition Committee has proposed six rule changes and three bylaw changes that the owners will vote on this week in Phoenix at the NFL League Meetings.

Proposed rule changes:

Jim Schwartz

1. The first rule change has affectionally been named the "Jim Schwartz Rule". A play that would have been automatically reviewed by instant replay will still be reviewed even if a coach throws his challenge flag when he's prohibited from doing so.

This stems from the incident on Thanksgiving when Schwartz threw the challenge flag on an 81-yard run touchdown run by the Texans' Justin Forsett when he was clearly down by contact but still continued running to the end zone.

Because all scoring plays are reviewed, Schwartz's throwing of the challenge flag negated the review under the old rule and the touchdown stood.

Any coach who challenges a play that he's not permitted to challenge would now be charged a timeout, and wouldn't get his timeout back even if he wins the challenge, or would lose 15 yards if his team is out of timeouts.

The league will also consider reviewing incomplete passes that are ruled a fumble all the way through the fumble - if a play is ruled on the field to be incomplete and overturned on replay as a fumble, the replay can consider everything that happens after that fumble.

2. On field goals and extra points, no more than six defensive players can be on the line of scrimmage and no player can be within the shoulder pads of the snapper, who is deemed a defenseless player.

3. Eliminate the tuck rule.

4. Allow tight ends and H-backs to wear No. 40-49.

5. Offensive players will not be allowed to block below the waist when going toward their own end line in the tackle box. Can't go low when peeling back "peel back block" anywhere on the field.

6. Initiating contact with the crown of the helmet is a 15-yard penalty if the runner or tackler initiates a forceable blow with top/crown against his opponent when both players are outside the tackle box.

Proposed bylaw changes:

1. When a team claims a player during the waiver period they only need to keep him for one day, not the current two days.

2. Move the physically unable to perform status to allow players on PUP to practice for any three-week period from Week 6 through Week 11. Before it had to take place before Week 9.

3. Move the roster cutdown dates one day earlier.

New points of emphasis:

1. Mandatory thigh and knee pads. A player who refuses to comply with the rule won't be allowed on the field.

2. Fields must be maintained up to NFL standards at the club's expense.