This week at the Annual Meeting, the NFL’s 32 owners debated and voted on a series of rules proposals presented by the Competition Committee, approving one resolution and five rules changes, four of which emphasize player safety. NFL owners’ priority continues to be on player health and safety and advancing our efforts to protect our players from unnecessary risk.

See all of the proposals presented at the NFL annual meeting.

The NFL’s process for modifying or adopting rules and regulations is systematic and consensus-oriented. The deliberative process takes into consideration the input of experts, clubs, players, league committees, the NFL Players Association and others. All proposals must be approved by 75 percent (24) of the owners to be adopted.

The owners unanimously approved allowing ATC spotters, independent certified athletic trainers already watching for potential injuries, to stop the game to make sure a player who may be disoriented gets the attention he may need. The spotters will communicate with the side judge to stop play if a player shows signs of being injured.

NFL owners adopted four rule proposals that are designed to protect players from unnecessary risk:

  • From Baltimore: Ban defensive players on punts from pushing teammates into the offensive formation at the line of scrimmage.
  • From Miami: Allow any offensive player to be called for an illegal “peel-back” block.
  • From the committee: Give defenseless player protection to intended receivers on a pass play that results in an interception.
  • From the committee: Make it illegal for a player lined up in the backfield to chop a defensive player engaged above the waist by another offensive player outside the area originally occupied by the tight end.

NFL owners reject all but one of the proposals to modify instant replay, but approved Tennessee’s proposal to use replay to verify the status of the game clock on the final play of either half or overtime.


Follow Troy Vincent, executive vice president of football operations (@TroyVincent23), Dean Blandino, vice president of officiating (@DeanBlandino) and NFL Football Operations (@NFLFootballOps) on Twitter for updates.