A busy afternoon will soon get even busier.
On top of the league’s announcement of the penalties imposed against the Saints and the trade that sent Tim Tebow to the Jets (a special Tebow 10-pack already is in the works), there’s another possibly significant story looming on the immediate horizon.
At 3:30 p.m. ET, Falcons president/CEO Rich McKay and NFL executive V.P. of football operations Ray Anderson will participate in a conference call to discuss the Competition Committee’s agenda for the NFL’s annual meetings.
During the call, they’ll outline the proposed rule changes for 2012, which may include some significant revisions to the protection of quarterbacks, in light of the bounty situation in New Orleans. (Indeed, the announcement of the penalties may have been specifically timed to help decrease the inevitable “put skirts on ‘em!” complaints.)
Recently, John Madden suggested that the same roughing rules that apply to punters and kickers be applied to quarterbacks. It really won’t be a shock if the Competition Committee proposes such a rule. Apart from ensuring the safety of quarterbacks, it provides a bright-line standard for what is and isn’t a penalty. Currently, the officials make too many mistakes in enforcing the rules against roughing the passer.
Other possibilities include expanded use of automatic replay, covering not only scoring plays but plays that, with a reversal of the call on the field, would result in a score. Also, the Competition Committee may propose an adjustment to the penalty imposed when a defense has too many men on the field in late-game situations, adding time to the clock in addition to giving the offense five yards of field position.
MDS and I will be covering the call and posting on all of the proposed rules changes.