When team owners meet next week in Boca Raton, Florida, the NFL Competition Committee will vote on 19 proposed changes to the playing rules.
Before the 2016 National Scouting Combine in February, the Competition Committee and league experts started discussing possible rules changes and ways of protecting players from unnecessary risks. Last week, the committee reconvened to review suggestions, to hear and address concerns from key stakeholders, and to comb through hours of video.
During the owners’ March 20–23 meetings, the Competition Committee will present the proposed changes to the league’s 32 owners for debate and ultimately a vote. All proposals must be approved by 75 percent (24) of the owners to be adopted.
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.
The 19 rules changes up for a vote by the league’s owners include:
- By Competition Committee; Permanently moves the line of scrimmage for Try kicks to the defensive team’s 15-yard line, and allows the defense to return any missed Try.
- By Competition Committee; Permits the offensive and defensive play callers on the coaching staffs to use the coach-to-player communication system regardless of whether they are on the field or in the coaches’ booth.
- By Competition Committee; Makes all chop blocks illegal.
- By Competition Committee; Disqualifies a player who is penalized twice in one game for certain types of unsportsmanlike conduct fouls.
- By Competition Committee; Changes the spot of the next snap after a touchback resulting from a free kick to the 25-yard line.
- By Baltimore; to amend Rule 5, Section 3, Articles 1 and 2 (Changes in Position) to require players to wear jersey vests with numbers appropriate for their positions.
- By Baltimore; to amend Rule 15, Section 2, Articles 1, 4, and 5 (Instant Replay) to provide each team with three challenges and expand reviewable plays.
- By Buffalo; to amend Rule 15, Section 2, Articles 1, 4, and 5 (Instant Replay) to permit a coach to challenge any official's decision except scoring plays and turnovers.
- By Carolina; to amend Rule 8, Section 2, Article 1 (Intentional Grounding) to expand the definition of intentional grounding.
- By Kansas City; to amend Rule 14, Section 2, Article 1 (Half-distance Penalty) to add penalty yards to the distance needed to gain a First Down.
- By Kansas City; to amend Rule 8, Section 1, Article 2 (Legal Forward Pass) to prohibit quarterbacks from falling to the ground, getting up, and throwing a forward pass.
- By Minnesota; to amend Rule 15, Section 2, Article 1 (Coaches' Challenge) to eliminate the requirement that a team be successful on each of its first two Instant Replay challenges in order to be awarded a third challenge.
- By Washington; to amend Rule 16, Section 1, Articles 1, 4, 6 and 7 (Overtime procedures) to eliminate overtime periods in preseason games.
- By Washington; to amend Rule 15, Section 2, Article 4 (Reviewable Plays) to subject personal foul penalties to Instant Replay review.
- By Washington; to amend Rule 15, Section 2, Article 1 (Coaches' Challenge) to eliminate the requirement that a team be successful on each of its first two Instant Replay challenges in order to be awarded a third challenge.
- By Competition Committee; Expands the horse collar rule to include when a defender grabs the jersey at the nameplate or above and pulls a runner toward the ground.
- By Competition Committee; Makes it a foul for delay of game when a team attempts to call a timeout when it is not permitted to do so.
- By Competition Committee; Eliminates the five-yard penalty for an eligible receiver illegally touching a forward pass after being out of bounds and re-establishing himself inbounds, and makes it a loss of down.
- By Competition Committee; Eliminates multiple spots of enforcement for a double foul after a change of possession.
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.