In two days, the NFL Competition Committee will convene to review this year’s proposed rule changes in preparation for the 2017 season. Thanks to Football Zebras, we now know what these suggested rule changes are. Here is a full list below, with the team that proposed each rule in parentheses. Any rule with a “CC” designation was proposed by the Competition Committee itself.
1. Protect the long snapper from contact for 1 second (PHI)
2. Abolish line leaping on field goal and extra-point kicks (PHI)
3. Expand the crown hit rule to be a foul even if player turns head to the side (PHI)
4. Expand coach’s challenge to any call except “hands” fouls (holding, pass interference, illegal contact) and unsportsmanlike conduct; and a 3rd challenge if at least one challenge is successful (PHI)
5. Allow a 3rd challenge if at least one challenge is successful, and unlimited thereafter as long as each challenge is successful (WAS)
6. All touchbacks to the 25-yard line, except kickoffs through the uprights would be a touchback to the 20 (WAS)
7. Coach may challenge any call at any time in the game, except after a turnover or score. (BUF-SEA joint)
8. Make permanent the automatic disqualification rule on the 2nd of certain unsportsmanlike penalties that was in effect in 2016 (CC)
9. Extend to 2017 only the rule that kickoffs would touchback to the 25, which was in effect for 2016 only (CC)
10. Reduce regular-season overtime to 10 minutes (CC)
11. Extend defenseless player protections to a receiver running a route, but not if he’s in a blocking posture (CC)
12. Extend the illegal crackback to an offensive player who was in motion (CC)
13. Make replay centralized in the league headquarters and have the referee participate via tablet (CC)
14. Multiple deliberate fouls to manipulate the clock are unsportsmanlike conduct, 15 yards and reset clock to time of snap (CC)
15. Expand 10-second runoff situations to apply after the 2-minute warning, not to under 1 minute (CC)
1. Eliminate the first roster cut to 75 active players (WAS)
2. Create a Concussion Exempt designation and allow a practice squad call-up to become active (WAS)
3. Allow a team to opt out of “color rush” uniforms (WAS)
4. Expand hosting rules for draft-eligible workouts and examinations (CC)
5. Change return rules from Reserve/Non-Football Injury and Reserve/Physically Unable to Play lists to match injured reserve return rules (CC)
6. Personnel notices to be issued by the league office on Sunday during training camp and preseason (CC)
1. Allow an alternate helmet color (new equipment) to be used with 3rd/color-rush jerseys (PHI)
2. Extend contract negotiation rules for head coach candidates still active in postseason (CC)
3. Allow non-football employees to work for another team during the season (CC)
Obviously there is a lot to digest here, but among the wall of information there are some key rule changes here that could have a monumental effect on the game. For starters, Seattle’s proposal to allow a coach to challenge any referee call at any time has the potential to decide the outcome of multiple games every year.
Imagine a bogus pass interference penalty that negated a game-winning turnover suddenly being overturned on a coach’s challenge. That one rule change would not only potentially decide who won the game, but could also have huge ramifications in playoff seeding, draft order, or even player incentive bonuses. It’s the rule change that we as fans have always wanted. Now we might finally get it.
Each rule must receive a two-thirds vote from the team owners to pass. Expect to hear about both the voting results on these proposals and the results of the vote regarding the Oakland Raiders’ relocation by Tuesday afternoon.
What other proposed rule changes are you excited about, BRB? Pick your favorites and sound off in the comments below.