Every offseason, the 32 NFL team owners get together to propose and vote on potential rules changes. While the Competition Committee still needs to propose their own rule changes, the teams have some ideas of their own to change up the game.
In total, seven proposals have been put forward. The Philadelphia Eagles have been the busiest with four suggestions while the Miami Dolphins proposed one and the Baltimore Ravens and LA Chargers jointly submitted two.
According to Pro Football Talk, these rules changes include the following:
1. By Philadelphia; to amend Rule 12, Section 2, Article 7, to modify the blindside block rule to prevent unnecessary fouls.
2. By Philadelphia; to amend Rule 15, Section 2, to make permanent the expansion of automatic replay reviews to include scoring plays and turnovers negated by a foul, and any successful or unsuccessful Try attempt.
3. By Philadelphia; to amend Rule 6, Section 1, Article 1, to provide an alternative to the onside kick that would allow a team who is trailing in the game an opportunity to maintain possession of the ball after scoring (4th and 15 from the kicking team’s 25-yard line).
4. By Philadelphia; to amend Rule 16, Section 1, to restore preseason and regular season overtime to 15 minutes and implement rules to minimize the impact of the overtime coin toss.
5. By Miami; to amend Rule 4, Section 3, Article 2, to provide the option to the defense for the game clock to start on the referee’s signal if the defense declines an offensive penalty that occurs late in either half.
6. By Baltimore and Los Angeles Chargers; to amend Rule 19, Section 2, to add a “booth umpire” as an eighth game official to the officiating crew.
7. By Baltimore and Los Angeles Chargers; to amend Rule 19, Section 2, to add a Senior Technology Advisor to the Referee to assist the officiating crew.
Many of these rules seem to make sense and can be seen as an improvement over the current setup but three and four are probably my favorite suggestions.
Now that only five players are allowed to be on one side of the kicker, the onside kick is borderline useless. Unless you’re Younghoe Koo, you aren’t converting an onside kick nowadays. A rule change where the offense has to convert a 4th and 15 on the 25 keeps the high risk/high reward concept that the onside kick had. If this rule sounds familiar, it’s because the AAF had a similar rule that amounted to converting a 4th and 12.
In terms of changing the OT period back to 15 minutes, that has always been a personal pet peeve of mine. For a league that didn’t want tie games, they cut five minutes off the OT period and instead increased the likelihood for a tie game. The Eagles may have proposed this rule for personal reasons. The Cowboys defeated the Eagles in overtime in 2018 where Dallas won the coin toss and were prepared to spend all 10 minutes with the ball and win before Philly had a chance. But biased reasons aside, it’s still a great proposal to make it less likely for games to end in a tie.
For these rules to move forward, 24/32 owners must agree and getting a rule passed or changed is easier said than done. While more rule changes are likely to be proposed, it remains to be seen if the owners will be receptive to these potential changes.