Rule changes and bylaw proposals up for discussion next week

Posted Mar 21, 2014

The NFL Competition Committee announced 13 new rule proposals, seven new bylaw proposals and one proposed resolution to be discussed at the NFL League Meetings early next week

The NFL League Meetings kick off in Orlando this weekend and there are plenty of items for owners and executives to discuss.

The NFL Competition Committee announced 13 new rule proposals, seven new bylaw proposals and one proposed resolution on a conference call on Wednesday. The NFL’s owners will vote early next week at the league meeting on the potential changes.

Rule change proposals:

1. Move the kickoff from the 35-yard line to the 40-yard line.

2. Expand instant replay to include personal foul penalties.

3. Eliminate overtime periods in the preseason for player safety reasons.

4. Extend the goalposts an additional five feet above the cross bar.

5. Move the line of scrimmage for extra points to the defensive team’s 25-yard line in order to make the point after a more competitive play.

6. Put fixed cameras on all boundary lines – the sideline, end line, and end zone – to supplement the TV cameras and to guarantee coverage of those lines for replay no matter where the TV cameras are located.

Jeff FisherJeff Fisher with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (Photo: AP Images)

7. Permit a coach to challenge any official’s decision, except scoring plays, which are automatically reviewed, to make more extensive use of the replay system.

8. 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 “or side” to the rule.

9. Allow the referee to consult with members of the NFL officiating department during replay reviews. The referee would be able to speak with the command center in New York to help in reviewing a play.

"It’s not going to change the process,” St. Louis head coach and Competition Committee member Jeff Fisher said in a conference call. “The process will be the same.

“The replay review will be initiated by the booth, depending on what happens on the field, or by the coach. The referee will go to the booth and talk to the observer, but during that process, our command center in New York headed by Dean Blandino will already be reviewing the play. At the end of the day, what’s going to happen is we’re going to make sure that every single review is correct and we feel like this will speed up the instant replay process and timing.”

10. Re-organize the rules about what can be reviewed and what cannot be reviewed, including making the recovery of a loose ball in the field of play reviewable.

11. Don’t stop the clock on a sack.

12. Modification of the pass interference rule so that it can be called within one yard of the line of scrimmage.

13. 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.

Bylaw proposals:

1. Raise the number of active-list players from 46 to 49 for regular season games played on days other than Sunday or Monday, excluding the opening weekend of the season.

2. Raise the practice squad limit from eight players to 10 players for player safety reasons.

3. Permit clubs to trade players prior to the start of the league year.

“The thinking would be to give players under contract the chance to earn their current contract rather than being cut,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said.

4. Eliminate the roster cut down to 75 and have just one cut down from 90 to 53.

5. Permit more than one player to return to the active list from injured reserve during the season.

“In other words, any player on injured reserve could return after six weeks on IR to the active list to provide more roster flexibility,” Aiello said.

6. Permit each club to time and test, at its facility, 10 players who attended the Combine and permit clubs to attend any timing or testing at another club’s facility that involves three or more draft-eligible players.

7. Adjust the time of the roster reduction from 53 after the fourth preseason game from 6 p.m. Eastern to 4 p.m. Eastern. All teams would have to have their list of final cuts in by 4 p.m.

Resolution proposal:

1. Permit the home team, with a retractable roof [or wall], to open the closed roof and/or wall at halftime.