Palm Beach, FL (Sports Network) - The NFL owners approved two key rule changes
on Wednesday, including a change to the regular-season overtime procedure and
putting all turnovers to review.
The new regular-season overtime rules will now match the playoff format.
Unlike the prior sudden-death overtime principles where the first team to
score won, each team will now have an opportunity for a possession in the
extra session unless the team that receives the first kickoff scores a
touchdown or the defense forces a safety.
All turnovers will be subject to instant replay without the coaching challenge
needed. The change comes a year after the NFL began reviewing all scoring
Rich McKay, the chairman of the competition committee, stated that the average
time of an NFL game can "potentially" decrease.
"We have a lot of plays that are turnovers, we go to a commercial break and
the coach challenges coming out of the commercial break, which now really
slows down the game," McKay said. "You will have none of that in this instance
because the confirmation will occur before that. We like the way the
procedure worked on scoring plays, and we felt like this was a change we could
make without adding game time."
Two proposals weren't passed.
The first, submitted by Buffalo, was to have all instant replays reviewed by
the booth rather than by referees on the field.
The second was to outlaw horse-collar tackles on a quarterback in the pocket,
but McKay didn't think the proposal had an "impact on players safety."
"The defender in the pocket is fighting off an offensive player, grabbing and
just trying to do everything he can. We just didn't see the injury risk and
that is why we didn't support it," McKay said.
Other rules changes include: a team will lose a down for illegally kicking a
loose ball; too many men on the field becomes a dead ball foul; and a player
receiving a crackback block is now considered a defenseless player and will
result in a 15-yard penalty.
In addition, owners tabled to May a proposal on moving back the trade
deadline, changing the bylaws of the IR rule and a roster-size ruling.
The Sports Network