Rules proposals aim to stop teams from using penalties to manipulate the clock

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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.

21 responses to “Rules proposals aim to stop teams from using penalties to manipulate the clock

  1. The NFL must prohibit the use, by the offense, of getting free plays that they cannot earn otherwise from taking advantage of pre-snap defensive penalties. When a pre-snap penalty is committed, the play should immediately be blown dead and only the penalty yardage should be gained by the offense.

    This would eliminate the entire Green Bay offense that is predicated on stealing yards their inept starting QB and head coach cannot gain by running a real offense.

    End the Cheese Cheater loophole.

  2. A lot of proposed rules changes these days seem dubious, but this seems to make a lot of sense.

    Generally, rules that make the game more about which team scores the most points and less about how non-game-play elements are manipulated seem like a good thing.

    While I respect the savvy of someone like Belichick using every possible rule to his advantage, it would probably get tiresome if everyone did it and the whining from opposing coaches alone is probably not worth it.

  3. It’s a shame when the nfl has to specify rules to a T because Belichick wants to act like he’s so smart.

  4. This is a good rule change and one that everyone knows needs to pass. As a side note:The fact that BB had it turned against him in the playoffs was just fun to watch.

  5. Oh it’s just not fair they ran a play nobody ever saw before boo whooo…oh it’s just not fair they used a formation nobody ever saw before boo whooo…oh it’s just not fair they intentionally got a penalty to run time off the clock, and nobody had ever done that before boo whooo… the whining from the losers side of the isle never ends, and just so you haters know Belichick never said a word when Tennessee used that move against them, because he knew thats not the reason they lost the game, and he’s above crying unlike the haters out there

  6. Jerry Burns did this years ago. Which makes Zim just the latest in a long line of Minnesota head coaches who play chess while everyone else (yes, even Belichick) is playing checkers.

  7. Belichick used the loophole in a situation where the game was already in hand, in a regular season game. To demonstrate the loophole exists.

    Vrabel used the loophole in a *playoff* game to exploit the loophole to help his team win.

    Just something for people to keep in mind, since hating Belichick is so fashionable.

  8. “and just so you haters know Belichick never said a word when Tennessee used that move against them”
    ————————————————

    Uhh, the video of Belichick expressing his opinion during the game is readily available online. It’s even posted on the Titans website.

  9. It’s very boring when the end of a close game is over before it should be. The NFL is a money machine, and they’re on top of it.

  10. Biggest question is why somebody is having to propose this when it’s such a common sense issue the rules never should have allowed such things in the first place.

  11. KoolAidFree says:
    May 21, 2020 at 3:37 pm
    Oh it’s just not fair they ran a play nobody ever saw before boo whooo…oh it’s just not fair they used a formation nobody ever saw before boo whooo…oh it’s just not fair they intentionally got a penalty to run time off the clock, and nobody had ever done that before boo whooo… the whining from the losers side of the isle never ends, and just so you haters know Belichick never said a word when Tennessee used that move against them, because he knew thats not the reason they lost the game, and he’s above crying unlike the haters out there

    ————

    Bruh he was mad angry as it was happening. He was literally yelling at the refs about it. I know we’re living in a world where facts don’t matter anymore but that happened.

  12. patriotmaleorgy says:
    May 21, 2020 at 3:05 pm
    It’s a shame when the nfl has to specify rules to a T because Belichick wants to act like he’s so smart.
    ——————————-
    Yeah. Being aware of all the rules and using them to your advantage in a game you play for money is always a ‘smarty pants’ thing.

  13. The attraction of pro sports for me anyway, is when the coach or manager DOES think of a way to outsmart the other team. Especially if using something that’s never been thought of before.

    Watch Track & Field if you just want pure athletics..but that’s sooo boring

  14. whispersd says:
    May 21, 2020 at 3:52 pm
    Belichick used the loophole in a situation where the game was already in hand, in a regular season game. To demonstrate the loophole exists.

    Vrabel used the loophole in a *playoff* game to exploit the loophole to help his team win.

    Just something for people to keep in mind, since hating Belichick is so fashionable.
    __________________

    And to think, Vrabel wouldn’t have known about the loophole at all if Belichick hadn’t flexed in a blowout.

  15. patriotmaleorgy says:
    May 21, 2020 at 3:05 pm
    It’s a shame when the nfl has to specify rules to a T because Belichick wants to act like he’s so smart.
    _______________________________

    It’s not just Bill, any good coach knows the rules, will exploit them and isn’t afraid to wander into the grey areas!

  16. Yes, I mentioned this to my friends over twenty years ago. Example: A team up by a couple scores gets the ball to the opponents 25 yardline with 10-12 minutes left to play, then takes ten 5-yard penalties all the way back to their 25 and actually take the clock down to or just below the 5-minute mark. While legal, it would greatly embarrass the league.

  17. 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.

    Karma is a beach.

  18. It’s a shame when the nfl has to specify rules to a T because Belichick wants to act like he’s so smart.
    —————-
    that’s actually hilarious. intended one would think but you never know.

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