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Rule changes to be considered at NFL meeting
Was just watching sportscenter and they overglamourized a few possible rule changes, so I did a little searching and here's what I found:
Rule changes to be considered at NFL meeting
Posted by Mike Triplett, The Times-Picayune March 22, 2009 7:36PM
DANA POINT, CALIF. -- The state of the economy, the upcoming negotiations with the NFL Players Association and a possible switch to a 17- or 18-game schedule will be among the most significant topics discussed over the next three days as the NFL holds its annual league meeting in Southern California.
Of course, none of those major issues will be resolved by week's end. But with almost all of the league's power brokers coming together in one place -- from Commissioner Roger Goodell to the owners, general managers and all 32 head coaches -- there still will be plenty of news and nuggets streaming out of the event.
Over the next few days, teams will vote on seven potential rule changes, mostly concerning player safety and tweaks to instant replay; the league will announce some of the prime-time games on this year's schedule, including the opening-weekend slate; and some high-profile trades might even be discussed, with names such as Denver quarterback Jay Cutler likely to be bandied about.
The rule change proposals aren't very dramatic this year. The most noteworthy is a change that would allow plays ruled as incomplete passes to be reviewed when they might actually be fumbles.
The rule has been dubbed the "Hochuli Rule" (thank you again ed, you kept us from a lovely 7-9 season) because it stirred up controversy last September when referee Ed Hochuli incorrectly ruled that Cutler's fumble late in a game against San Diego was an incomplete pass. The play was not reviewable, and Denver took advantage of its good fortune to win the game.
The league's competition committee also is proposing that loose balls ruled out of bounds can be reviewed. Four safety-related rules also have been proposed -- one that would protect defenseless receivers from contact to the head area, one that prohibits helmet-to-helmet hits on blindside blocks, and two that deal with kickoff and kick return formations. The final proposal is to eliminate automatic re-kicks on onside kicks.
"There are not any major rules proposals changing the game," said Atlanta Falcons President Rich McKay, who serves as co-chair of the competition committee. "We think the focus is on player safety, and we think the game otherwise is in very good shape with respect to the numbers and with respect to the quality of the game."
McKay pointed out that scoring was higher in 2008 (44.06 points per game) than it has been since 1970, and the average time of game was 3:02.12, both of which he considers positives.
The competition committee also is proposing a change in the draft order beginning in 2010. Currently the top 30 picks are based on regular-season record, with the two Super Bowl teams picking 31st and 32nd. Under the new format, the top 20 picks would go to non-playoff teams, with the final 12 picks going to the playoff teams in their order of finish.
One thing that won't be changed this year is the overtime format, despite a vocal outcry for change among fans and media this season. Although seven of the 15 overtime games in 2008 were won on the first possession by the team that won the coin toss, McKay and NFL executive vice president of football operations Ray Anderson said neither the teams nor the players wanted to change the sudden-death format.
"I was a little surprised at how adamant the players were about not wanting to change the current overtime system," Anderson said, pointing out that one concern was that lengthier overtime periods would expose players to further injury risk.
"I think overtime still achieves its major goal, which is it breaks ties," McKay said. "We think it achieves a second goal, which is it is extremely exciting. There are some statistics that concern some of us. By the same token, I think there's not enough support at this time to change it."
There seems to be great support for expanding the schedule to 17 or 18 regular-season games (while cutting the preseason down to two or three games). But that likely won't come into play until a new collective bargaining agreement is reached between the owners and players union.
For now, Anderson said, "We're just trying to get our options and the ramifications and the unintended consequences of anything we might propose. We'll just continue to massage it, and at some point be much more comfortable about making a hard recommendation."
The negotiations between the owners and the NFLPA are expected to begin warming up now that the union has elected Executive Director DeMaurice Smith to replace the late Gene Upshaw.
The current CBA is set to expire after the 2010 season, following the owners' decision to opt out of the deal last April. As a result, there will be no salary cap next season unless a new deal is reached before then.
Many other major changes could be discussed this week as a result of the faltering economy. For example, some league insiders are pushing to move the draft up to late February to cut down on the length and expense of predraft scouting events, according to a report by Pro Football Weekly. Many such ideas will be floated around as the league's billionaire businessmen put their heads together.
New Orleans' hopes of hosting the Super Bowl in 2013 won't be a major issue this week. Bids for that Super Bowl aren't due until April 1, with formal presentations being made to the owners at the next set of league meetings May 18-20 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Mike Triplett can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 504.826.3405
The safety issues were the ones I was confused about. They were making it sound (in the brief espn segment) like NO blindside hits were going to be legal, and they also briefly mentioned some new rule change about d-lineman crawling on the ground NOT being able to lunge at a qb's legs....which I personally think is horse puckey.
Other interesting notes...a possibility of a 17 or 18 game season in the near future, and the fact that players/coaches alike seem content with the current overtime system.
Last edited by Boobs McGee; 03-22-2009 at 10:43 PM..