The NFL’s owners voted to change five on-field rules, voted not to change two on-field rules, voted to change one bylaw and voted to table five bylaw proposals at the league meeting on March 28.
Proposed rules changes:
1. FAILED: Giving the authority to determine replay reviews to the replay official in the booth, not the referee on the field.
2. FAILED: Modifying the horse-collar tackle rule to remove the exception for quarterbacks in the pocket, so that a quarterback in the pocket may not be yanked down by the back of his shoulder pads or inside collar of his jersey.
3. PASSED: Changing overtime so that the postseason rule will be used in the regular season as well, and no regular-season games will be ended on a field goal on the first possession of overtime.
4. PASSED: Adding a loss of down to the penalty for kicking a loose ball, as is the case in college football.
5. PASSED: Adopting the college rule for too many men on the field, which is a dead-ball foul if a team lines up on offense for more than three seconds, or if a team on defense lines up with too many men and the snap is imminent. In those cases, the officials will blow the play dead and assess a five-yard penalty. This change wouldn’t affect the rulings on players running off the field who don’t get off in time.
6. PASSED: Expanding the defenseless player rule to protect defensive players on crackback blocks, making it illegal to hit them in the head or neck area.
7. PASSED: Automatically reviewing turnovers via instant replay, just as scoring plays are automatically reviewed.
The league also considered the following bylaws:
1. PASSED: Modifying the roster rules for teams that play on Thanksgiving and Christmas.
2. TABLED: Moving the trade deadline from Week 6 to Week 8.
3. TABLED: Expanding the roster limit for training camp and the offseason to 90 players, with unsigned draft picks now counting toward that limit, whereas in the past unsigned draft picks did not count toward the 80-player limit.
4. TABLED: Moving this year’s final roster cutdown day to Friday night instead of Saturday, which is designed to give an extra day of work after cutting down to final rosters for the two teams playing in the first game of the season, which this year is on Wednesday instead of Thursday.
5. TABLED: Adding an injured reserve exemption so that if a player was on the roster through the first regular season weekend, that player can be placed on injured reserve and designated for return, and then can return to practice six weeks later and play in a game eight weeks later, rather than having all players on injured reserve out for the season.
6. TABLED: Allowing one roster exemption per team per week for a player who is inactive with a concussion.