Steelers News

Competition Committee Announces 2015 Playing Rule Proposals

The NFL announced Wednesday that the following rule changes, bylaw changes and resolution changes will be discussed by the Competition Committee and considered by the owners at next week’s league meetings.

While many of you arent likely to read all of these, I thought you might like to see how they were all submitted and written up. It’s quite a bit to go through and several of these arent likely to be passed.

2015 PLAYING RULE PROPOSAL NO. 1

(As of February 18 at 12:20 p.m.)

Amend Rule 15, Section 2, Article 1 (Coaches’ Challenge, pg. 77) to read (new language underlined, deleted language struck through):

SECTION 2 INSTANT REPLAY

The League will employ a system of Instant Replay Review to aid officiating as defined below. The following procedures will be used:

Article 1 Coaches’ Challenge. In each game, a team will be permitted two challenges that will initiate Instant Replay reviews. The Head Coach will initiate a challenge by throwing a red flag onto the field of play calling a team timeout before the next legal snap or kick. Each challenge will require the use of a team timeout. If a challenge is upheld, the timeout will be restored. A challenge will only be restored if a team is successful on both of its challenges, in which case it shall be awarded a third challenge, but a fourth challenge will not be permitted under any circumstances.

Note 1: If there is a foul that delays the next snap, the team committing that foul will no longer be able to challenge the previous ruling. A team may challenge any reviewable play (see Article 4 below) except when the on-field ruling is a score for either team, an interception, a fumble or backward pass that is recovered by an opponent or goes out of bounds through an opponent’s end zone, or a muffed scrimmage kick recovered by the kicking team. A team is also prohibited from challenging any ruling after the two-minute warning of each half, and throughout any overtime period.

Note 2: If there is a foul that delays the next snap, the team committing that foul will no longer be able to challenge the previous ruling.

Note 2 3: A team that is out of timeouts or has used all of its available challenges may not attempt to initiate an additional challenge. If a team initiates a challenge when it is not permitted to do so, it will be charged a timeout.

Penalty: For initiating a challenge when a team has exhausted its timeouts: Loss of 15 yards.

Submitted by New England

Effect: Permits a coach to challenge any officials’ decision except scoring plays and turnovers.

Reason: More extensive use of Instant Replay system.

2015 PLAYING RULE PROPOSAL NO. 2

(As of February 12, 2015 at 4:50 p.m.)

Amend Rule 15, Section 2, Article 4 (Reviewable Plays, pgs. 77-78) (new language underlined, deleted language struck through):

Article 4 Reviewable Plays. The Replay System will cover the following play situations only:

(g) Other.

1. The position of the ball with respect to a first down.

2. Whether more than 11 players were on the field at the snap.

3. All fouls identified by a game official.

Submitted by Detroit

Effect: All fouls will be subject to review.

Reason: Permits the Instant Replay system to correct an officiating error.

2015 PLAYING RULE PROPOSAL NO. 3

(As of February 11, 2015 at 9:50 a.m.)

Amend Rule 15, Section 2, Article 2 (Replay Official’s Request for Review, pg. 77) and

Article 4 (Reviewable Plays, pgs. 77-78) to read (new language underlined, deleted language struck through):

Article 2 Replay Official’s Request for Review. After all scoring plays, interceptions, fumbles and backward passes that are recovered by an opponent or go out of bounds through an opponent’s end zone, muffed scrimmage kicks recovered by the kicking team, after the two-minute warning of each half and throughout any overtime period, any Replay Review will be initiated by a Replay Official from a

Replay Booth comparable to the location of the coaches’ booth or Press Box., except the review of a penalty for a personal foul will remain subject to a coach’s challenge (see Article 1 above).

Note 1: There is no limit to the number of Replay Reviews that may be initiated by the Replay Official. His ability to initiate a review will be unrelated to the number of timeouts that either team has remaining, and no timeout will be charged for any review initiated by the Replay Official.

Note 2: The Replay Official must initiate a review before the ball is next legally put in play.

Article 4 Reviewable Plays. The Replay System will cover the following play situations only:

(g) Other.

1. The position of the ball with respect to a first down.

2. Whether more than 11 players were on the field at the snap.

3. Any personal foul penalty.

Submitted by Tennessee

Effect: Subjects personal foul penalties to Instant Replay review pursuant to a coach’s challenge.

Reason: Permits the Instant Replay system to correct an officiating error.

2015 PLAYING RULE PROPOSAL NO. 4

(As of February 11, 2015 at 10:15 a.m.)

Amend Rule 15, Section 2, Article 4 (Reviewable Plays, pgs. 77-78) to read (new language underlined, deleted language struck through):

Article 4 Reviewable Plays. The Replay System will cover the following play situations only:

(g) Other.

1. The position of the ball with respect to a first down.

2. Whether more than 11 players were on the field at the snap.

3. Any personal foul penalty.

Submitted by Washington

Effect: Subjects personal foul penalties to instant replay review.

Reason: Competitive fairness and integrity of the game.

The following is a summary of penalties which would be subject to Instant Replay review pursuant to 2015 Playing Rule Proposal 4. Penalties highlighted in yellow would also be reviewable pursuant to 2015 Playing Rule Proposal 5.

Personal Foul Penalties:

Clipping

Illegal crackback block

Illegal chop block

Illegal “peel back” block

Illegally blocking below the waist on kicks and changes of possession

Unnecessary roughness (by offense or defense)

Unnecessary contact with player in defenseless posture

Initiating contact with the crown of the helmet (by offense or defense)

Roughing the passer

Roughing the kicker

Running into the kicker

Roughing the holder

Striking, kicking, or kneeing opponents (by offense or defense)

Striking with forearms or elbows (by offense or defense)

Twisting, pulling, or turning the facemask (by offense or defense)

Horse-collar tackle

Illegal use of a helmet as a weapon (by offense or defense)

Illegal cut block

2015 PLAYING RULE PROPOSAL NO. 5

(As of February 11, 2015 at 10:10 a.m.)

Amend Rule 15, Section 2, Article 4 (Reviewable Plays, pgs. 77-78) to read (new language underlined, deleted language struck through):

Article 4 Reviewable Plays. The Replay System will cover the following play situations only:

(g) Other.

1. The position of the ball with respect to a first down.

2. Whether more than 11 players were on the field at the snap.

3. Any penalty which results in an automatic first down.

Submitted by Washington

Effect: Subjects to instant replay review any penalty which results in an automatic first down.

Reason: Competitive fairness and integrity of the game.

The following is a summary of penalties which would be subject to Instant Replay review pursuant to 2015 Playing Rule Proposal 5. Penalties highlighted in yellow would also be reviewable pursuant to 2015 Playing Rule Proposal 4.

Penalties which result in an automatic first down:

Illegal contact by defense beyond five-yard zone

Defensive holding

Pass interference

Illegal use of hands by the defense

Tripping by the defense

Unnecessary roughness (by defense)

Unnecessary contact with player in defenseless posture

Initiating contact with the crown of the helmet (by defense)

Roughing the passer

Roughing the kicker

Roughing the holder

Striking, kicking, or kneeing opponents (by defense)

Striking with forearms or elbows (by defense)

Twisting, pulling, or turning the facemask (by defense)

Horse-collar tackle

Illegal use of a helmet as a weapon (by defense)

Illegal cut block

Unsportsmanlike conduct (by defense)

2015 PLAYING RULE PROPOSAL NO. 6

(As of February 26, 2015 at 10:15 a.m.)

Amend Rule 15, Section 2, Article 4 (Reviewable Plays, pgs. 77-78) to read (new language underlined):

Article 4 Reviewable Plays. The Replay System will cover the following play situations only:

(g) Other.

1. The position of the ball with respect to a first down.

2. Whether more than 11 players were on the field at the snap.

3. The identification and enforcement of a foul for an illegal hit against a defenseless receiver when the onfield ruling is reversed from a catch/fumble to an incomplete pass.

Submitted by Tennessee

Effect: A foul against a defenseless receiver may be enforced when a reversal results in an incomplete pass.

Reason: Permits the Instant Replay system to correct an officiating error.

2015 PLAYING RULE PROPOSAL NO. 7

(As of February 12, 2015 at 2:30 p.m.)

Amend Rule 15, Section 2, Articles 1 (Coaches’ Challenge) and 4 (Reviewable Plays, pgs. 77-78) to read (new language underlined, deleted language struck through):

Article 1 Coaches’ Challenge. In each game, a team will be permitted two challenges that will initiate Instant Replay reviews. The Head Coach will initiate a challenge by throwing a red flag onto the field of play before the next legal snap or kick. Each challenge will require the use of a team timeout. If a challenge is upheld, the timeout will be restored. A challenge will only be restored if a team is successful on both of its challenges, in which case it shall be awarded a third challenge, but a fourth challenge will not be permitted under any circumstances.

Note 2: A team that is out of timeouts or has used all of its available challenges may not attempt to initiate an additional challenge. If a team initiates a challenge when it is not permitted to do so, it will be charged a timeout.

Penalty: For initiating a challenge when a team has exhausted its timeouts: Loss of 15 yards.

Article 4 Reviewable Plays. The Replay System will cover the following play situations only:

(g) Other.

1. The position of the ball with respect to a first down.

2. Whether more than 11 players were on the field at the snap.

3. Fouls against players in a defenseless posture (see 12-2-7).

Submitted by Indianapolis

Effect: Reviewable plays will include fouls against defenseless players, and an unsuccessful challenge will not cost a team a timeout.

Reason: Permits the Instant Replay system to correct an officiating error when a foul is erroneously called against a defenseless player.

2015 PLAYING RULE PROPOSAL NO. 8

(As of January 23, 2015 at 12:25 p.m.)

Amend Rule 15, Section 2, Article 1 (Coaches’ Challenge, pg. 77) to read (new language underlined, deleted language struck through):

Article 1 Coaches’ Challenge. In each game, a team will be permitted two three challenges that will initiate Instant Replay reviews. The Head Coach will initiate a challenge by throwing a red flag onto the field of play before the next legal snap or kick. Each challenge will require the use of a team timeout. If a challenge is upheld, the timeout will be restored. A challenge will only be restored if a team is successful on both of its challenges, in which case it shall be awarded a third challenge, but a fourth challenge will not be permitted under any circumstances.

Submitted by Washington

Effect: Eliminates the requirement that a team be successful on each of its first two Instant Reply challenges in order to be awarded a third challenge.

Reason: Competitive fairness and integrity of the game.

2015 PLAYING RULE PROPOSAL NO. 9

(As of February 11, 2015 at 10:00 a.m.)

Amend Rule 15, Section 2, Article 2 (Replay Official’s Request for Review, pg. 77) to read (new language underlined, deleted language struck through):

Article 2 Replay Official’s Request for Review. After all scoring plays, interceptions, fumbles and backward passes that are recovered by an opponent or go out of bounds through an opponent’s end zone, muffed scrimmage kicks recovered by the kicking team, after the two-minute warning of each half and throughout any overtime period, any Replay Review will be initiated by a Replay Official from a Replay Booth comparable to the location of the coaches’ booth or Press Box.

A Replay Review will be initiated by a Replay Official from a Replay Booth comparable to the location of the coaches’ booth or Press Box in any of the following situations: (a) Any play after the two-minute warning of each half, (b) any play throughout any overtime period, (c) after all scoring plays, interceptions, fumbles or backward passes that are recovered by an opponent or go out of bounds through an opponent’s end zone, or muffed scrimmage kicks recovered by the kicking team, or (d) after any reversal of an onfield ruling that has a result that falls under category (c) above.

Note 1: There is no limit to the number of Replay Reviews that may be initiated by the Replay Official. His ability to initiate a review will be unrelated to the number of timeouts that either team has remaining, and no timeout will be charged for any review initiated by the Replay Official.

Note 2: The Replay Official must initiate a review before the ball is next legally put in play.

Submitted by Kansas City

Effect: Expands plays for which reviews will be initiated by the Replay Official to include those that would result in a score or change of possession if the onfield ruling is reversed.

Reason: Permits the Instant Replay system to correct an officiating error.

2015 PLAYING RULE PROPOSAL NO. 10
(as of March 4, 2015 at 5:00 p.m.)

For one year only, amend Rule 15, Section 2, Article 4 (g) (Reviewable Plays, pgs. 77-78) and Article 5 (a) (Non-Reviewable Plays, pg. 78) to read (new language underlined, deleted language struck through):

Article 4 Reviewable Plays. The Replay System will cover the following play situations only:

(h) Other.

1. The position of the ball with respect to a first down.

2. Whether more than 11 players were on the field at the snap.

3. The game clock, in situations in which time is deemed to have expired during or after the last play of the first or second half, or of an overtime period in the preseason or regular season, or of an overtime half in the postseason. Time shall be put back on the game clock if there has been an error in the operation of the game clock. Time shall be restored only if it is a one-score game (eight points or less) and the additional play will be a snap from scrimmage by the team that is behind in the score.

Note 1: A timing error is defined as having occurred only when the visual evidence demonstrates that more than one second should be put on the clock.

Note 2: A correction of a timing error for a team timeout may be made only if there is visual evidence of an official’s signal.

Article 5 Non-Reviewable Plays include, but are not limited to:

a. Status of the play or game clock.

b. Proper down.

c. Penalty administration, including spot of a foul.

d. Runner ruled down by defensive contact or out of bounds (not involving fumbles or the line to gain).

e. The position of the ball not relating to first down or goal line.

f. Field-goal or Try attempts that cross above either upright without touching anything.

g. Erroneous Whistle.

h. Quarterback “spike” to kill clock.

Submitted by Tennessee

Effect: Adds review of game clock on the final play of a half or overtime to Instant Replay system.

Reason: A timing error at the end of a half or overtime can be reviewed and corrected.

2015 PLAYING RULE PROPOSAL NO. 11

(As of February 11, 2015 at 10:10 a.m.)

Amend Rule 15, Section 2, Article 4 (Reviewable Plays, pgs. 77-78) and Article 5 (Non-Reviewable Plays, pg. 78) to read (new language underlined, deleted language struck through):

Article 4 Reviewable Plays. The Replay System will cover the following play situations only:

(g) Other.

1. The position of the ball with respect to a first down.

2. Whether more than 11 players were on the field at the snap.

3. Whether time had expired on the play clock before the ball was snapped.

Article 5 Non-Reviewable Plays. Non-reviewable plays include, but are not limited to:

a. Status of the play or game clock.

b. Proper down.

c. Penalty administration, including spot of a foul.

d. Runner ruled down by defensive contact or out of bounds (not involving fumbles or the line to gain).

e. The position of the ball not relating to first down or goal line.

f. Field-goal or Try attempts that cross above either upright without touching anything.

g. Erroneous Whistle.

h. Quarterback “spike” to kill clock.

Submitted by Chicago

Effect: Adds review of play clock to the Instant Replay system.

Reason: Permits the Instant Replay system to correct an officiating error.

2015 PLAYING RULE PROPOSAL NO. 12

(As of February 18 at 8:25 a.m.)

Amend Rule 15, Section 2 (Instant Replay, pg. 78) and add a new Article (6) to read (new language underlined):

Article 6. Fixed Cameras. Fixed cameras will be positioned on sidelines, end lines, and goal lines. These camera angles will supplement those provided by the broadcast networks for replay reviews.

Submitted by New England

Effect: Puts fixed cameras on all boundary lines.

Reason: Guarantees coverage along these lines regardless of where network cameras are positioned.

2015 PLAYING RULE PROPOSAL NO. 13

(As of February 11, 2015 at 10:00 a.m.)

Amend Rule 15, Section 2 (Instant Replay, pgs. 77-78) to read (new language underlined):

SECTION 2 INSTANT REPLAY

The League will employ a system of Instant Replay Review to aid officiating as defined below. The television network feed and stadium-produced video shall be used for any reviews.

Submitted by Tennessee

Effect: Stadium-produced video may be used for an Instant Replay review.

Reason: Permits the Instant Replay system to correct an officiating error.

2015 PLAYING RULE PROPOSAL NO. 14

(As of March 4 at 8:00 a.m.)

Amend Rule 11, Section 3, Article 1 (Try, pg. 51) to read (new language underlined, deleted language struck through):

Article 1: General Rules. After a touchdown, the scoring team is awarded a Try in an attempt to score one or two additional points during one scrimmage down.

The Try begins when the Referee sounds his whistle for play to start. The spot of the snap shall be:

(a) anywhere on or between the inbound lines, and

(b) two 15 yards from the defensive team’s goal line for a Try Kick, or.

(c) two yards from the defensive team’s goal line for a Try by pass or run.

Note 1: A team’s choice is not final and is subject to change following a team timeout or accepted penalty.

The addition of Rule 11, Section 3, Article 1, Note 1 will cause all subsequent Notes to be re-numbered.

Submitted by New England

Effect: Moves the line of scrimmage for Try Kicks to the defensive team’s 15-yard line.

Reason: Makes the Try Kick a more competitive play.

2015 PLAYING RULE PROPOSAL NO. 15

(As of January 29, 2015 at 4:40 p.m.)

For 2015 preseason games, amend Rule 11, Section 1, Article 2 (Types of Scoring Plays, pg. 51) and Rule 11, Section 3, Articles 1 (General Rules, pg. 51) and 2 (Result of a Try, pg. 51) to read (new language underlined, deleted language struck through):

Section 1 Value of Scores

Article 2 Types of Scoring Plays. Points are scored as follows:

(a) Touchdown: 6 points;

(b) Field Goal: 3 points;

(c) Safety: 2 points;

(d) Successful Try after touchdown: 1 point (Field Goal or Safety) or 2 points (Touchdown);

(e) Bonus field goal after Successful Try-Touchdown: 1 point.

Section 3 Try

Article 1 General Rules. After a touchdown, the scoring team is awarded a Try in an attempt to score one or two additional points during one scrimmage down.

The Try begins when the Referee sounds the whistle for play to start. The spot of the snap shall be:

(a) anywhere on or between the inbound lines, and

(b) two yards from the defensive team’s goal line.

Note 1: All general rules for fourth-down fumbles apply to the Try (See 8-7-5).

Note 2: The Game Clock will not run during the Try.

Note 3: If the ball has been declared ready for play by the Referee, and the offensive team wants to change the location of the ball, they can do so by calling a timeout.

Note 4: See 9-1-3 for restriction applicable to Team B formation at the snap.

Note 5: See 16-1-1 for exception when a touchdown is scored in an overtime period.

Article 2 Results of a Try. During a Try, the following shall apply:

(a) If a kick results in a field goal by the offense, one point is awarded. An artificial or manufactured tee shall not be permitted to assist in the execution of a Try-kick. (The conditions of 11-4-1 must be met.) The ball is dead as soon as it becomes evident that the kick has failed.

(b) If a Try results in a touchdown by the offense, two points are awarded, and the offense may elect to attempt a bonus field goal. If a touchdown is not scored, the Try is over at the end of the play.

(1) The mechanics and scoring rules of the bonus field goal are identical to the Try-kick in Article 2(a), with the exception that the snap for the bonus field goal will be made from the 32-yard line (50-yard field goal).

(2) If the result of the bonus field goal ends in the offensive team scoring a touchdown (e.g., via fake field goal), it will be awarded one point.

(c) If the defense gains possession, the ball is dead immediately. The defensive team cannot score during a Try.

(d) If there is no kick, and the Try results in what would ordinarily be a safety against the defense, one point is awarded to the offensive team.

(e) If any play results in a touchback, the Try is unsuccessful, and there shall be no replay.

Submitted by Indianapolis

Effect: Adds a bonus field goal for one additional point after a successful two-point attempt.

Reason: Adds incentive for more two-point attempts.

2015 PLAYING RULE PROPOSAL NO. 16

(As of February 12, 2015 at 9:40 a.m.)

Amend Rule 9, Section 1, Article 3 (Defensive Team Formation, pg. 45) to read (new language underlined, deleted language struck through):

Article 3 Defensive Team Formation

When Team A presents a punt, field-goal, or Try Kick formation, a Team B player, who is within one yard of the line of scrimmage, must have his entire body outside the snapper’s shoulder pads at the snap.

When Team A presents a field-goal or Try Kick formation:, 1) Nno more than six Team B players may be on the line of scrimmage on either side of the snapper at the snap; and.

Note: These restrictions do not apply if a team does not present a standard punt, field goal, or Try Kick formation (an equal number of players on the line of scrimmage on either side of the snapper in a tight formation), or if, after the offensive team has assumed a set position, there is a shift, or a player goes in motion.

Penalty: For illegal formation by the defense: Loss of five yards.

When Team A presents a punt, field-goal, or Try kick formation, 2) Team B players cannot push teammates on the line of scrimmage into the offensive formation.

Penalty: For unnecessary roughness: Loss of 15 yards.

Submitted by Baltimore

Effect: Prohibits Team B players from pushing teammates on the line of scrimmage into the offensive formation when Team A presents a punt formation.

Reason: Player safety.

2015 PLAYING RULE PROPOSAL NO. 17

(As of February 6, 2015 at 12:35 p.m.)

Amend Rule 16, Section 1, Article 3 (Overtime Procedures, pg. 79) to read (new language underlined, deleted language struck through):

Article 3 Following an intermission of no more than three minutes after the end of the regular game, the extra period shall commence.

a) Both teams must have the opportunity to possess the ball once during the extra period., unless the team that receives the opening kickoff scores a touchdown on its initial possession, in which case it is the winner, or if the team kicking off to start the overtime period scores a safety on the receiving team’s initial possession, in which case the team that kicked off is the winner.

b) If the team that possesses the ball first does not score on its initial possession, the team next scoring by any method shall be the winner.

c) If the team that possesses the ball first scores a field goal on its initial possession, the other team (the second team) shall have the opportunity to possess the ball.

1) If the second team scores a touchdown on its possession, it is the winner.

2) If the second team scores a field goal on its possession, the team next scoring by any method shall be the winner.

Note 1: If the second team loses possession by an interception or fumble, the down will be permitted to run to its conclusion, but if the second team’s possession has legally ended with the fumble recovery or interception, any subsequent action will not affect the outcome of the game. (If the change of possession occurs in the second team’s end zone, the score counts.)

Note 2: Fouls by one or both teams after the change of possession, or a subsequent loss of possession by the team that intercepted the pass or recovered the ball, cannot change the result. The team that received the opening kickoff is the winner, since the second team had possession of the ball and failed to score.

Note 3: In such situations, if the player who intercepts the pass or recovers the fumble goes to the ground and makes no effort to advance, the covering official will blow his whistle to end the game.

Note 4: If the second team loses possession by an interception or fumble, but the first team committed a foul prior to the change of possession, the second team’s possession has not legally ended, and the game cannot end on the down.

However, in certain situations (see Approved Ruling 16.24) the second team cannot decline the penalty and accept the result of the play, no matter how beneficial, because it would create a second possession for itself. It must accept the penalty enforcement, which will extend its initial possession.

Note 5: The situation in (4) may also affect the team that receives the opening kickoff during its first possession. If there is a foul by the second team followed by a double change of possession, and the first team declines the penalty and accepts the result of the play, the second team has had its required possession, and the first team has possession of the ball for the second time and needs only a field goal to win. However, if it accepts the penalty, it will extend its initial possession (see A.R. 16.25).

b) d) A player is in possession when he is in firm grip and control of the ball inbounds (3-2-7). The defense gains possession when it catches, intercepts, or recovers a loose ball.

e) The opportunity to possess applies only during kicking plays. A kickoff is the opportunity to possess for the receiving team. If the kicking team legally recovers the kick, the receiving team is considered to have had its opportunity. A punt or field goal attempt that crosses the line of scrimmage and is muffed by the receiving team is considered to be an opportunity to possess for the receiving team. Normal touching rules by the kicking team apply.

c) f) All replay reviews will be initiated by the Replay Official. Coaches’ challenges will not be allowed.

Submitted by Chicago

Effect: Both teams will have a possession in overtime.

Reason: Maintains equity in overtime and ensures a fair outcome.

2015 PLAYING RULE PROPOSAL NO. 18

(As of March 5, 2015 at 1:35 p.m.)

Amend Rule 12, Section 2, Article 4 (Illegal “Peel Back” Block, pg. 60) to read (new language underlined, deleted language struck through):

Article 4 Illegal “Peel Back” Block. An offensive player who is aligned in the tackle box when the ball is snapped cannot initiate contact on the side and below the waist against an opponent if:

a) the blocker is moving toward his own end line; and

b) he approaches the opponent from behind or from the side.

Note: If the near shoulder of the blocker contacts the front of his opponent’s body, the “peel back” block is legal.

Submitted by Miami

Effect: Extends the prohibition for an illegal “peel back” block to all offensive players.

Reason: Player safety.

2015 PLAYING RULE PROPOSAL NO. 19

Amend Rule 12, Section 2, Article 7 (a) (Players in a Defenseless Posture, pg. 61) to read (new language underlined, deleted language struck through):

Article 7 Players in a Defenseless Posture. It is a foul if a player initiates unnecessary contact against a player who is in a defenseless posture.

a) Players in a defenseless posture are:

1) A player in the act of or just after throwing a pass (passing posture);

2) A receiver attempting to catch a pass; or who has completed a catch and has not had time to protect himself or has not clearly become a runner. If the receiver/runner player is capable of avoiding or warding off the impending contact of an opponent, he is no longer a defenseless player;

3) The intended receiver of a pass in the immediate continuing action following an interception. If the player is capable of avoiding or warding off the impending contact, he is no longer a defenseless player;

Note: Violations of this provision will be enforced after the interception, and the intercepting team will maintain possession.

The addition of Rule 12, Section 2, Article 7 (a) (3) will cause all subsequent items to be re-numbered.

Submitted by Competition Committee

Effect: Gives the intended receiver of a pass defenseless player protection in the immediate continuing action following an interception.

Reason: Player safety.

2015 PLAYING RULE PROPOSAL NO. 20

Amend Rule 4, Section 8, Article 2, Notes 1 and 2 (Extension of a Period or a Half, pgs. 16-17), and Rule 14, Section 4, Article 9, Exceptions (Dead Ball Foul and Foul Between Downs, pgs. 74-75) to read (new language underlined, deleted language struck through):

Rule 4

Article 2 Period Extended

Note 1: Dead ball personal, unsportsmanlike conduct, or taunting fouls by either team at the end of a half are enforced on the ensuing kickoff (14-4-9-Exc. a).

Note 2: Dead ball unsportsmanlike or taunting fouls by either team at the end of a half are disregarded.

Rule 14

Article 9 Dead Ball Foul and Foul Between Downs

Exceptions:

a) If there is a personal, unsportsmanlike conduct, or taunting foul by either team following the end of the second or fourth periods, the penalty yardage will be enforced on the second-half kickoff or the kickoff in overtime, unless it is part of a Double Foul (See Section 5).

b) If there is an unsportsmanlike conduct foul or taunting foul by either team following the end of the second or fourth periods, the penalty yardage will not be enforced, unless it is part of a Double Foul (See Section 5). However, if the foul occurs after any continuing action resulting from the down, the penalty yardage will be enforced on the second-half kickoff or kickoff in overtime.

Exceptions:

a) If there is a 5-yard vs. 15-yard Double Foul on the last play of the half, and the 15-yard penalty is for a Dead Ball personal, unsportsmanlike conduct, or taunting foul by either team, the penalty yardage will be enforced on the second half kickoff or the kickoff to start overtime. If the Dead Ball foul is an unsportsmanlike conduct or taunting foul, the penalty yardage will not be enforced. In either case, There will be no extension of the period. See 14-5-1-Exc.

Submitted by Competition Committee

Effect: Allows for the enforcement of an Unsportsmanlike Conduct foul at the end of a half to be applied to the ensuing kickoff.

Reason: Sportsmanship.

2015 PLAYING RULE PROPOSAL NO. 21

Amend Rule 12, Section 2, Article 3 (c) (Chop Block, pg. 59) to read (deleted language struck through):

Article 3 Chop Block. A Chop Block is a block by the offense in which one offensive player (designated as A1 for purposes of this rule) blocks a defensive player in the area of the thigh or lower while another offensive player (A2) engages that same defensive player above the waist.

Legal Chop Blocks

A Chop Block is a legal block in the following situations on Running Plays.

a) Offensive players A1 and A2, who are initially aligned adjacent to each other on the line of scrimmage, may chop a defensive player.

b) Offensive players A1 and A2, who are initially aligned more than one position away from each other on the line of scrimmage, may chop a defensive player when the flow of the play is toward the block.

c) A1 is lined up in the backfield at the snap and subsequently chops a defensive player engaged above the waist by A2, and such block occurs outside the area originally occupied by the tight end on either side.

Submitted by Competition Committee

Effect: Makes it illegal for a back to chop a defensive player engaged above the waist by another offensive player outside the area originally occupied by the tight end.

Reason: Player safety.

2015 PLAYING RULE PROPOSAL NO. 22

Amend Rule 5, Section 1, Article 2 (Players Numbered By Position, pg. 18) to read (new language underlined):

Article 2 All players must wear numerals on their jerseys in accordance with Rule 5, Section 4, Article 3c. Such numerals must be by playing position, as follows:

a) quarterbacks, punters, and placekickers: 1–19;

b) running backs and defensive backs: 20–49;

c) centers: 50–79;

d) offensive guards and tackles: 60–79;

e) wide receivers: 10–19 and 80–89;

f) tight ends and H-backs: 40–49 and 80–89;

g) defensive linemen: 50–79 and 90–99;

h) linebackers: 40-49, 50–59, and 90–99.

Submitted by Competition Committee

Effect: Permits clubs to assign additional jersey numbers to linebackers.

Reason: Shortage of available numbers for linebackers.

2015 PLAYING RULE PROPOSAL NO. 23

Amend Rule 3, Section 34 (Tackle Box, pg. 11), Rule 5, Section 3, Article 1 (Changes in Position, pg. 20), and Rule 5, Section 3, Article 2 (Penalty, pg. 20) to read (new language underlined, deleted language struck through):

Rule 3

Section 34 Tackle Box

The Tackle Box is an area extending from tackle to tackle and from between the outside edges of the normal tackle positions extending three yards beyond the line of scrimmage to the offensive team’s end line. After the ball leaves the tackle box, this area no longer exists.

Rule 5

Section 3 Changes in Position

Article 1 Reporting Change of Position. An offensive player wearing the number of an ineligible pass receiver (50-79 and 90-99) is permitted to line up in the position of an eligible pass receiver (1-49 and 80-89), and an offensive player wearing the number of an eligible pass receiver is permitted to line up in the position of an ineligible pass receiver, provided that he immediately reports the change in his eligibility status to the Referee, who will inform the defensive team.

He must participate in such eligible or ineligible position as long as he is continuously in the game, but prior to each play he must again report his status to the Referee, who will inform the defensive team. The game clock shall not be stopped, and the ball shall not be put in play until the Referee takes his normal position.

Note: An offensive player wearing the number of an eligible pass receiver who reports as ineligible must line up within the tackle box.

Penalty: If a player fails to notify the Referee of a change in his status when required or an offensive player with an eligible number reports as ineligible and lines up outside the tackle box: Loss of five yards for illegal substitution.

Submitted by Competition Committee

Effect: Makes it illegal for an offensive player with an eligible number to report as ineligible and line up outside the core of the formation.

2015 BYLAW PROPOSAL NO. 1

(As of January 13, 2015 at 11:15 a.m.)

Amend Article XVII, Section 17.1 (F) of the Constitution and Bylaws to read (new language underlined, deleted language struck through):

Cutdowns and Player Limits

17.1 (F) Subject to the provisions of Section 17.3 of this Article, clubs will be required to reduce their Active Lists to 75 players by 4:00 p.m., New York time, on the Tuesday after the third preseason weekend and to 53 players by 6:00 p.m., New York time, on the Saturday of the fourth preseason weekend. The claiming period for players on waivers at the final cutdown shall be 12 noon, New York time, on the following day (Sunday).

Submitted by Washington

Effect: Eliminates the cutdown to 75 players on the Active List.

Reason: Player safety and player development.

2015 BYLAW PROPOSAL NO. 2

(as of January 29, 2015 at 2:05 p.m.)

Amend Article XIV, Section 14.8, (A)(2) and (A)(4), of the Constitution and Bylaws to read (new language underlined):

Contact with Draft-Eligibles

14.8 The following rules govern club contact with draft-eligible players:

(A) Clubs may time, conduct on-field tests, interview, and administer written tests to draft-eligible players only at the following sites and subject to the following conditions (see (B)(3)(e) below for exceptions for interviews and written tests):

(2) The metropolitan area of the city in which the player’s college is located. (NFL clubs located in such areas may use their own facilities for the timing and testing if they wish, provided that such players had not attended the League-wide Combine at Indianapolis.)

(4) The metropolitan area of the city in which the player lives. (NFL clubs located in such areas may use their own facilities for the timing and testing if they wish, provided that such players had not attended the League-wide Combine at Indianapolis.) If a draft-eligible player establishes a residence in another city (e.g., lease on an apartment), NFL clubs will be permitted to send their scouts to such cities for purposes of timing and testing. If a draft-eligible player establishes a residence in another city and becomes part of a “camp,” involving other players, NFL clubs are prohibited from timing and testing such players at a “camp,” observing the sessions of the “camp,” or otherwise participating in it.

(E) In no circumstances under (A) and (B) above is a club permitted to give or offer to give, directly or indirectly, a draft-eligible player anything of significant value beyond necessary transportation and lodging expenses. Club souvenirs and similar items are permissible. With respect to transportation paid for or arranged for free agents who are not selected in the draft, such payments or arrangements may not be made until the final round of the draft is completed.

Submitted by Philadelphia

Effect: Prohibits timing and on-field testing at a club’s facility any players who attended the League-wide Combine.

Reason: The number of draft-eligible players in each club’s metropolitan area is not equal.

2015 BYLAW PROPOSAL NO. 3

Amend Article XVII, Section 17.16 (C) of the Constitution and Bylaws to read (new language underlined, deleted language struck through):

Reserve/Injured

17.16 The following rules govern Reserve/Injured:

(C) Designated Free Activation from Reserve Injured. During each season a team will be permitted to return one player from the Reserve/Injured List to its 53-player Active/Inactive List. Such player must have suffered a major football-related injury (defined as an injury that renders the player physically unable to practice or play football for a period of at least six weeks [42 calendar days] from the date that the injury occurred) after reporting to training camp and must have been placed on Reserve/Injured after 4:00 p.m., New York time, on the Tuesday day after the final roster reduction. A player who is eligible to return must be noted as “Designated for Return” at the time the player is placed on Reserve.

A player who has been designated for return is ineligible to practice until six weeks have elapsed since the date he was placed on Reserve, and is not eligible to return to the Active/Inactive List until eight weeks have elapsed since the date he was placed on Reserve. The business day (prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time) that the player is placed on Reserve counts as the first day.

At any time after the conclusion of the sixth week that a player designated for return has been on Reserve/Injured, a club is permitted to return him to practice for a period not to exceed 21 calendar days. Provided that the player has been on Reserve/Injured for at least eight weeks from the date he was placed on Reserve, a club is permitted to return him to its Active/Inactive List at any time during the 21-day practice period, or prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, on the day after the conclusion of the 21-day period. Clubs are required to notify the League office on the first day of such 21-day practice period, which information shall be promulgated to clubs on that day’s Personnel Notice.

If the player is not returned to the Active/Inactive List prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, on the day after the conclusion of the 21 -day period, he is not eligible to return to that club’s Active/Inactive List for the remainder of the season and postseason. If the club elects to continue to carry the player on Reserve/Injured, the player shall not be permitted to practice or to participate in team or individual

drills (contact or non-contact) during the remainder of the season, including postseason. Such players are limited to non-contact rehabilitative work under the supervision of the club’s trainer or physician. Pads and helmets are prohibited during such rehabilitative work. Such players are permitted to attend team meetings, and may also attend practice sessions, provided they do not participate.

Submitted by Competition Committee

Effect: Permits clubs to designate after 4:00 p.m., New York time, on the day after the final roster reduction, the one player eligible to return to their Active List from Reserve/Injured.

Reason: Competitively more fair.

2015 BYLAW PROPOSAL NO. 4

Amend Article XII, Section 12.3 (E) (1) (c) (iii) of the Constitution and Bylaws to read (new language underlined, deleted language struck through):

(E) (1) If a player reports to the club at its preseason training camp and is, in the opinion of the club physician, physically unable to perform his services as a player, the club will have the following options:

(c) Place him in the category of Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform. The following rules apply:

(iii) Commencing the day after the club’s sixth regular season game on the sixth calendar day prior to the club’s seventh regular season game (including any bye week) and continuing through the day after the club’s eleventh regular season game (including any bye week), clubs are permitted to begin practicing players on Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform for a period not to exceed 21 days. At any time during the 21-day practice period or not later than 4:00 p.m., New York time, on the day after the conclusion of the 21-day period, clubs are permitted to restore such players to their Active/Inactive list, provided that no player may be activated to participate in a Week Six game. (Note: a club with a bye in the seventh week will be treated as having a Sunday game);

Submitted by Competition Committee

Effect: Changes the date for the beginning of the window during which players on Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform may begin practice.

Reason: Competitively more fair for clubs playing on Thursday.

2015 RESOLUTION G-1
(As of March 5, 2015 at 2:00 p.m.)

For one year only, amend the NFL’s Retractable Roof Policy to read (new language underlined):

Until 90 minutes prior to kickoff, the home club will have the authority to determine if the retractable roof (“roof”) and/or the retractable wall (“wall”) should be open or closed for each preseason and regular season game. The home club may choose to open the roof and/or wall for some games and not for others. The decision to open or close the wall is independent of the election the club makes for opening or closing its stadium’s retractable roof. In the event a game is started with the roof and/or wall in the open position and it is closed pursuant to the procedures set forth below, the roof and/or wall must thereafter remain in the closed position for the duration of the game. If the roof is in the closed position for the first half of the game, the home club may elect to open the roof for the second half of the game, provided that such election takes place no later than 90 minutes before kickoff, the “NFL Retractable Roof Halftime Election Form” is properly submitted at that 90 minute meeting to the opposing club and the NFL Football Operations department, and the weather parameters set forth in the Election Form are satisfied when five minutes remain in the second quarter. This option utilizing the form will not apply to retractable walls.

For Wild Card and Divisional playoff games, the Commissioner will defer to the home team’s written policy, if reasonable under the circumstances. If, however, the Commissioner determines that the home team’s roof and/or wall policy is unreasonable, or in the event the home team does not have a written policy, then the decision is solely at the discretion of the Commissioner. For the Conference Championship games, the Pro Bowl, and the Super Bowl, the decision is solely at the discretion of the Commissioner.

1. Pregame Procedures

(a) In the week prior to a game and on game day, to preserve and protect the field, the League’s tarp rule will be in effect, if the roof is open (see pages A65-A68).

(b) Forty-eight hours prior to kickoff, the home club must submit to the Football Operations department its defined weather parameters for opening the retractable roof at halftime, assuming an election to do so has been made at the 90-minute meeting on game day. For the purposes of this policy, “weather parameters” include maximum and minimum temperatures, maximum and minimum wind speeds, and likelihood of any precipitation or hazardous condition for the remainder of the game.

(b) No later than 90 minutes prior to kickoff, the home club is required to notify the Referee or the highest-ranking League official working at the game whether the roof and/or wall shall be open or closed. The opening or closing of the roof and/or wall as designated by the home club must be completed no later than 60 minutes prior to kickoff. All overhead lighting must be on prior to team warm-ups and must remain on for the duration of the game.

(c) If curtains can be used to cover windows on the retractable wall, then the home club must make a final determination, no later than 90 minutes prior to kickoff, as to whether the curtains will remain open or closed for the game. The opening or closing of curtains must be completed no later than 60 minutes prior to kickoff.

(d) If, subsequent to the home club’s decision to have the roof and/or wall in the open position for the game, a hazardous condition (lightning, severe winds, etc.) develops, or is anticipated, that threatens the welfare of participants and/or spectators, as determined by the Referee after receiving input from the Stadium Manager and the highest-ranking League official working at the game, the roof and/or wall shall be closed immediately (if both the roof and wall are open, both must be closed). If precipitation begins at any time after the club’s decision to have the roof in the open position for the game, the roof shall be closed immediately, by signal of the Referee to the Stadium Manager.

If precipitation begins at any time after the club’s decision to have the wall in the open position for the game, the club may elect to close the wall, but must advise the highest-ranking League official working at the game of its decision prior to taking such action.

2. Halftime Procedures

(a) If at the 90-minute meeting the home club elected to open the roof at halftime, the roof must be opened if the defined weather parameters are in place when five minutes remain in the second quarter. The weather

parameters will be verified by the Football Operations department utilizing its designated weather service provider. Final determination as to whether the weather parameters have been satisfied will be made by the Football Operations department with two minutes remaining in the second quarter. The home and visiting clubs will each designate a game day representative who will receive verification via email that the Football Operations department has verified the weather conditions and approved the opening of the roof for the second half. In the event there is any difficulty confirming weather conditions or communicating with anyone at the game site, the opening of the roof will not be approved.

(b) The visiting and home Head Coach must be notified by a member of the officiating crew that the roof will be opened for the second half immediately after the conclusion of the first half. The visiting and home team’s public relations directors will also be notified to ensure that other club personnel are aware that the roof will be opened.

(c) The opening of the roof at halftime must commence as soon as the first half ends to ensure that the roof is fully opened prior to the start of the second half.

(d) In the event the home club fails to open the retractable roof after: (1) an election has been made; (2) the defined weather parameters have been satisfied; and (3) receiving approval from the Football Operations department to open the roof, the club will be subject to discipline by the Commissioner for conduct detrimental, absent any exigent circumstances such as mechanical failure of the retractable roof.

2. 3. In-Game Procedures

(a) If a game starts with the roof and/or wall open, it shall be closed at any time due to the development or anticipation of a hazardous condition that threatens the welfare of participants and/or spectators. The game Referee, in consultation with the highest-ranking League official working at the game, after receiving input from the Stadium Manager, will decide if the roof and/or wall should be closed. If the roof and/or wall is closed pursuant to the above, it must remain closed for the duration of the game. Play may continue while the roof and/or wall is being closed, subject to the Referee suspending play pursuant to the procedures for emergency situations.

(b) If a game starts with the roof open, it shall be closed any time up to the last five minutes of the fourth period if precipitation begins. The decision to close the roof will be made by the Referee, who will signal to the Stadium Manager or otherwise communicate to him to begin closing the roof. Play will continue while the roof is closing.

If a game starts with the wall open, it can be closed any time up to the last five minutes of the fourth period if precipitation begins. The decision to close the wall in the event of precipitation will be made by the club. The club must, however, advise the highest-ranking League official working at the game of its decision prior to taking such action. Play will continue while the wall is closing.

(c) If the fourth period ends with the roof and/or wall in the open position, no change will be made prior to or during an overtime period, unless the roof and/or wall is closed pursuant to the procedures for hazardous conditions as set forth in (a) above.

3. 4. Items Suspended from Roof

A minimum height for anything suspended from the roof of a stadium over the playing field is 85 feet above the ground. This includes but is not limited to sound speakers, video screens, scoreboards, and clocks.

New designs (suspensions) must receive prior written approval from the NFL Football Operations department.

Pursuant to Rule 7, Section 2, Article 1, A.R. 7.4 (q) of the Official Playing Rules, if a loose ball in play strikes a video board, guide wire, sky cam, or any other object, the ball will be dead immediately, and the down will be replayed at the previous spot.

If there is not an on-field ruling that the ball struck an object, the Replay Assistant is empowered to initiate a booth review, even if the event occurs prior to the two-minute warning. If, prior to the two-minute warning, no booth review is initiated by the Replay Assistant, a coach’s challenge is permitted under the established rules for such a challenge.

4. 5. Stadium Lights

Stadium lights must be turned on at least 60 minutes prior to kickoff in all domed stadiums and in all stadiums with a retractable roof in the closed position. In addition, the Referee has the final authority when determining if stadium lights will be used at an outdoor stadium. In making this decision, when appropriate, the Referee shall consider input from the participating teams, the broadcasting network, and local public safety officials.

If stadium lights are being turned off as part of pregame player introductions, the lights cannot be turned off until both teams have cleared the field following the conclusion of pregame warm-ups. All stadium lights must be returned to 100% operation prior to kickoff.

Submitted by Indianapolis

Effect: Provides opportunity for a retractable roof to be opened at halftime, even if left in closed position for first half.

Reason: Fan enhancement.

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