The NFL Competition Committee

Working to maintain competitive balance and consistency throughout the NFL.

The NFL’s process for modifying or adopting rules and regulations is systematic and consensus-oriented. The Competition Committee reviews all competitive aspects of the game, including (but not limited to) playing rules, roster regulations, technology, game-day operations and player protection. 
Atlanta Falcons CEO Rich McKay. (Al Messerschmidt via AP)

Atlanta Falcons CEO Rich McKay. (Al Messerschmidt via AP)

The committee’s deliberative process takes into consideration the input of experts, clubs, players, league committees, the NFL Players Association and other sources.

Commissioner Pete Rozelle created the Competition Committee in 1968, two years after the announcement that the NFL and the AFL would merge before the 1970 season. It replaced the Rules Committee, which was formed in 1932 to help develop the professional game’s playing rules as it moved away from the college rulebook, which was used in the league’s earliest days.

The Competition Committee’s actions are based, in part, on feedback from a variety of sources. At the end of each season, the 32 NFL clubs fill out a survey, answering questions about player protection, officiating, competitive balance and technology. Leading up to the National Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, NFL Football Operations meets with coaches, general managers, players and NCAA representatives to gather their input about potential changes to the rules. There is also a review of data on injuries, instant replay and technology.

The committee holds a meeting before the National Combine to prepare agenda items, discuss the feedback it received and review information with league medical advisors, members of the coaches’ and general managers’ subcommittees and NFL Players Association representatives.

After the combine, the committee reconvenes to review video, draft rule proposals and positions, discuss proposals submitted by clubs and prepare its report of supporting statistics for the membership to discuss and vote on at the league’s annual meeting.

At the annual meeting, the Competition Committee presents a report of its findings to the 32 owners, who vote on any proposed new rules or rules changes. To be adopted, a new rule or a revision must have the support of 75 percent of the owners (24 yes votes out of 32 clubs).

During the season, the committee meets occasionally by conference call or in person to review current issues in the game and to begin to discuss potential agenda items for the next year’s meeting.

The NFL commissioner selects the members of the Competition Committee, which currently includes:

  • Rich McKay (Chairman) – CEO, Atlanta Falcons
  • Katie Blackburn – executive vice president, Cincinnati Bengals
  • Chris Grier – general manager, Miami Dolphins
  • Stephen Jones – COO, executive vice president and director of player personnel, Dallas Cowboys
  • John Mara – president, CEO and owner, NY Giants
  • Sean McDermott – head coach, Buffalo Bills
  • Sean McVay – head coach, Los Angeles Rams
  • Mike Tomlin – head coach, Pittsburgh Steelers