The NFL on Thursday released a complete list of proposed changes to rules, bylaws and resolutions for 2018.
Here are all 10 of the rules proposals from the league’s competition committee and various NFL teams, along with several interesting bylaw and resolution proposals. We’ll provide some quick-hit analysis of each of the suggested changes.
Playing rules proposals
1. By Competition Committee; Makes permanent the playing rule that changes the spot of the next snap after a touchback resulting from a free kick to the 25-yard line.
* The league was never going back to the 20-yard line here. Returns are basically dead.
2. By Competition Committee; Changes standard for a catch.
* The explanation from NFL EVP of Football Ops Troy Vincent:
The Competition Committee addressed the concerns expressed by players, coaches & fans about the catch rule. pic.twitter.com/jUZpqorkym
— Troy Vincent (@TroyVincent23) March 22, 2018
This is progress, and you get the feeling the spirit of the revised rule (if approved) would make it so that officials would basically always err on the side of ruling a catch. Still, what exactly is “control”?
3. By Competition Committee; Makes the penalties for Illegal Batting & Kicking the same.
* Both appear to be 10-yard penalties as is, so I’m a little confused by this one. But you’ll likely never notice the change anyway.
4. By Los Angeles Chargers; Amends Rule 15, Section 2, Article 5 to add fouls for roughing the passer and fouls against players in a defenseless posture as reviewable plays in the instant replay system.
* Everything should be reviewable. Officials are human and as long as coaching challenges continue to be limited, games won’t be any slower as a result. Let’s get these calls right. Roughing the passer is one of the most frequently botched calls in professional football.
5. By Washington; Amends Rule 15, Section 2, Article 5 to add review of personal fouls as reviewable plays in the instant replay system.
Again, everything should be reviewable. Officials are human, and as long as coaching challenges continue to be limited games won’t be any slower as a result. Let’s get these calls right.
6. By New York Jets; Amends Rule 8, Section 5, Articles 1-4 to change the enforcement for defensive pass interference.
* This doesn’t look like it’ll pass, which is a shame because pass interference works great as a 15-yard penalty in the college game. The 15-yard system isn’t perfect and a tiered system with different penalties depending on the severity of the infraction would only put more pressure on overburdened officials and add more words to a War and Peace-sized rulebook.
But it’s rather ridiculous that an offense gets credit for a completion just because a foul was committed on a play that did not result in a catch.
7. By Competition Committee; Authorizes the designated member of the Officiating department to instruct on-field game officials to disqualify a player for a flagrant nonfootball act when a foul for that act is called on the field.
* Another set of eyes can’t hurt.
8. By Competition Committee; Conforms the amount of time in which a team must challenge a play if there is a television commercial break following the play in question.
* Good. This should shave another minute or two off of some games.
9. By Competition Committee; Eliminates the requirement that a team who scores a winning touchdown at the end of regulation of a game to kick the extra point or go for two-point conversion.
* Might as well call this “The Stefon Diggs Rule.”
10. By Competition Committee; If there is a turnover, a team may win an overtime game, even though it scores on its second possession.
* Not gonna lie here…
"10. By Competition Committee; If there is a turnover, a team may win an overtime game, even though it scores on its second possession."
Sorry, but I don't understand what this means. Do you?
— Brad Gagnon (@Brad_Gagnon) March 23, 2018
Little help, please? Anyone?
Interesting bylaw proposals
7. By San Francisco, Arizona, and Los Angeles Chargers; Reduces the competitive equity that exists between teams who have morning body clock start times on long road trips.
* From Albert Breer of the MMQB:
And here's an interesting new bylaw that'll be voted on … "No team will be scheduled to play more than three away games with a scheduled kickoff time prior to 1:00 p.m. in the time zone of their home stadium (w/o consent)."
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) March 20, 2018
* This makes sense, but the league is pretty fickle about time slots. This would mean more 4 p.m. ET kickoffs.
8. By Competition Committee; Permits coaches to review video displayed on League-issued tablets on the sidelines and in the coaches’ booth.
* It’s ridiculous this isn’t already the case. Get with the times, NFL.
Interesting resolution proposals
G-1. By Washington; Allows opposing teams to receive the League’s postgame responses to any officiating inquiries submitted by either team.
* The league has to become way more transparent about officiating in general. The NBA is kicking its ass in that area.
G-4. By Competition Committee; Permits a club to negotiate and sign a head coach candidate during the postseason prior to the conclusion of the employer club’s season.
* This was always a silly rule, and it led to the whole Josh McDaniels fiasco in Indianapolis this year.