The NFL’s Competition Committee has proposed six rules changes and three bylaw changes that the owners will vote on at next week’s league meeting.
Proposed rule changes
1. A play that would have been automatically reviewed by instant replay will still be reviewed even if a coach throws his challenge flag. Any coach who challenges a play that he’s not permitted to challenge would be charged a timeout, and wouldn’t get his timeout back even if he wins the challenge, or would lose 15 yards if his team is out of timeouts. But the play itself will still be reviewed. Call this the Jim Schwartz Rule. The league will also consider reviewing incomplete passes that are ruled a fumble all the way through the fumble — if a play is ruled on the field to be incomplete and overturned on replay as a fumble, the replay can consider everything that happens after that fumble.
2. Player safety: On field goals and extra points, restrictions are added to what rush teams can do. No more than six defensive players would be permitted to align on either side of the snapper, defensive players can’t push their teammates across the line, and the long snapper is considered a defenseless player.
3. Eliminate the tuck rule.
4. Allow tight ends and H-backs to wear 40-49.
5. Player safety: Offensive players will not be allowed to block low when going toward their own end lines in the tackle box. Can’t go low when peeling back anywhere on the field.
6. Player safety: Initiating contact with the crown of the helmet is a foul if the runner or tackler delivers a forceable blow against his opponent when both players are outside the tackle box.
Proposed bylaw changes
1. The waiver period will be such that a team that claims a player only needs to keep him for one day, not two days.
2. Adjust the physically unable to perform status to allow players on PUP to practice for any three-week period from Week Six through Week 11.
3. Move the final roster cutdown date one day earlier.
New points of emphasis
1. Mandatory thigh and knee pads. This isn’t a new rule but the officials will start actively enforcing the rule, rather than just urging players to wear the pads as they did last year. A player who refuses to comply with the rule won’t be allowed on the field.
2. Fields must be maintained up to NFL standards, and the league can require clubs to maintain their fields up to the league’s high standards, at the club’s expense.