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Examining Select Rule Proposals For NFL Competition Committee

The NFL Competition Committee discussed possible rule change proposals yesterday in advance of the league’s annual meetings, which set to kick off on Sunday. The majority of them pertain to tweaking the manner in which the review system works, though other ideas have been discussed. Here is a look at some of the potential topics that may be addressed during the meeting next week.

Perhaps the most valuable proposal came from the Patriots, who suggested that there be more fixed cameras around the stadium in order to better assist the review process by giving superior angles to view in key areas of the field. Cameras would be added on the sidelines, end lines, and goal lines to help determine boundary questions in the field.

The Patriots also proposed, once again, that the point after try line of scrimmage be moved back to the 15-yard line, which they experimented with last year in the preseason. The experiment yielded little of value, and seems like a waste of time.

Yet another Patriots proposal was to eliminate the ban on coach’s challenged within the last two minutes of each half and in overtime. This is another proposal that I believe makes sense, because, while it could potentially contribute to slowing the pace of the most critical times of the game, it doesn’t seem to make sense to force teams to be beholden to the replay official to determine what does or does not need to be reviewed.

Another proposal suggestion the removal of the challenge flags. Instead, coaches would simply call a timeout, and would be awarded their timeout back if their challenge overturned the call on the field.

The Lions made a proposal that would allow all called penalties to be reviewable, but this would certainly become unwieldy in short order, akin to challenging balls and strikes in baseball. Could you imagine every holding call being challenged?

The Titans made the proposal, however, that all personal fouls be reviewable, which seems much more reasonable, and perhaps has a chance to pass. The Redskins made a similar proposal, only the Titans’ proposal uses the challenge system, while the Redskins’ proposal does not. The former seems more likely to be entertained.

The Bears were the team to propose a change to the overtime procedures whereby both teams would be awarded possession during overtime, regardless of what the team who has possession of the ball first does. Currently, an opening drive touchdown ends the game.

The most absurd proposal of the discussion, which will surely not pass, came from the Colts, who suggested that teams be awarded a point after try—from 50 yards out—following a success two-point conversion play, for a total of nine points. I’m not quite sure how they came up with this one, or why.

Finally, it has been acknowledged that while there is not a specific proposal on paper to change the catch rule, the Competition Committee will revisit and discuss the language of the rule, and perhaps its interpretation.

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