NFL owners are set to vote on a pair of rules proposals that would keep teams from committing penalties in an effort to get a free timeout.
One proposal, from the Dolphins, would give the defense the ability to start the game clock after declining an offensive penalty late in either half. That would change the current rule that automatically stops the clock in that situation.
The other proposal, from the Competition Committee, would prevent teams from manipulating the game clock by committing multiple dead-ball fouls while the clock is running.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick predicted during the 2019 season that this rules change was coming. After the Patriots purposely committed a penalty to run time off the clock late in a win over the Jets, Belichick said it was something that was likely to change.
“No, it was just the way the rules are set up. We were able to run quite a bit of time off the clock without really having to do anything. That’s probably a loophole that will be closed and probably should be closed but right now it’s open,” Belichick said after that game.
Belichick is right that the loophole is being closed — but too late for Belichick to keep it from being used against him, as it was in the Titans’ win over the Patriots in the playoffs.