It’s that time of the year again, the time when the Competition Committee meeting during which they decide which new rules to adopt is on the horizon. It is truly the most exciting time on the football calendar, as I’m sure all readers will agree with. ‘In what ways will the game be pointlessly and needlessly altered this time?’, they ask.
I will tell you. Or, at least, I will tell you what propositions that they are taking under consideration.
First on the list is an expansion of player protections for long snappers on kick plays in which they can’t be touched within a second after the snap. This was proposed by Philadelphia, which also suggested eliminating the ‘leaping’ block on kick attempts.
You may recall last season when the league adopted a ‘crown of the helmet’ rule, categorizing that part of the body as constituting an illegal hit on a defenseless player. There is a new proposal to expand the rule to include the ‘hairline’ part of the helmet. Another one from Philadelphia.
There were two proposals to tweak the challenge system, one from Philadelphia and one from Washington. The former proposes that a team be awarded a third challenge if they get one of their first two right, and also expands the number of reviewable plays. Washington’s proposal wants to eliminate a limit on the number of challenges per team as long as they get it right.
Washington also proposed that kickoffs that travel through the uprights result in a touchback at the 20-yard line instead of the 25. Certainly a better idea than giving the kicking team an extra point, Baltimore. Nice try guys. A shared proposal between Buffalo and Seattle wants to make all officials’ decisions reviewable that are not automatically reviewed.
Competition Committee proposals under consideration include the making permanent of last year’s rule that results in an ejection for a player who commits two of specific types of unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. They want another year of the 25-yard line touchbacks as well.
Another proposal is to shorten overtime in the preseason and regular season to 10 minutes. Another offers defenseless player protection for players running routes. Crackback blocks from players in the backfield who are in motion can become illegal.
A pair of proposals look to cut down on game clock manipulation, one making is unsportsmanlike conduct to commit multiple fouls on a play intentionally, the other making ‘actions to conserve time illegal’ in the final two minutes of either half.
The final proposal is the most significant one, in my opinion, which I want to handle in a separate article, but it removes the sideline monitor during reviews, replacing it with a handheld device, and turns the final decision over to the head of officiating rather than the on-field official.