The NFL’s Competition Committee launches into its busiest period of the year every February, with meetings at the Scouting Combine aimed at identifying the potential rule changes to be recommended for owners in March. Typically, only bits and pieces of the agenda are publicly disclosed, via a smattering or reports based on on-the-record quotes or off-the-record leaks.
Packers CEO Mark Murphy, who joined the Competition Committee in 2012, has made the process easier for everyone. In his monthly column at Packers.com, Murphy revealed everything the Competition Committee discussed in Indy.
Here’s the full list of the rules considered for potential changes in Indianapolis, according to Murphy:
1. Chop blocks, roll blocks, downfield cut blocks, and peel-back blocks, which can injure defensive players.
2. Protections for read-option quarterbacks while in the pocket.
3. The “hands to the face” penalty, which could expand to encompass quick blows to the head in addition to the current prohibition of pinning the opponent’s head in a sustained manner.
4. Low hits on defenseless players, specifically receivers while catching a pass.
5. Taunting and fighting penalties, to ensure players are treating each other with respect.
6. The point-after touchdown, which could be eliminated.
7. Playoff expansion, which would add a No. 7 seed in each conference, eliminating the bye for the No. 2 seed in each conference.
8. The instant replay system, which could be adjusted to mirror the college system (where the replay official makes the decision) or to adopt the NHL’s approach of centralized review.
The Competition Committee has reconvened in Naples, Florida to finalize a list of proposals that will be made to ownership during the league meetings later this month. Competition Committee chairman Rich McKay typically conducts a media conference call to identify and explain all proposals before the league meetings commence.