One of the strangest endings to an NFL game in recent memory came in 2019, when the Broncos benefited from an obscure rule that allowed them to try a two-point conversion from the 1-yard line thanks to a penalty committed by the Bears, even though the Broncos had also committed a penalty prior to their initial two-point conversion attempt.
Now the Bears want to change that rule.
In a proposal that NFL owners will vote on at the upcoming league meeting, the Bears are asking for a rule change that would ensure that all penalties are enforced if penalties are called on consecutive extra point or two-point conversion attempts.
Here’s what happened in that 2019 game: The Broncos scored a touchdown with 31 seconds left to make the score 13-12 Bears. The Broncos lined up for a two-point conversion, but they were flagged for delay of game. Not wanting to try the conversion from the 7-yard line, Denver opted to kick the extra point — which missed. Except that the Bears jumped offside, and when the Broncos accepted that penalty, they chose to go for two again. This time it was from the 1-yard line because of the Chicago penalty, and Denver converted to take a 14-13 lead.
Many fans were surprised to learn the Broncos got to take their two-point conversion attempt from the 1-yard line, which effectively treated Denver’s previous delay of game penalty as if it never happened. But that’s the way the rules are currently enforced. Under the Bears’ proposal, the Broncos’ previous penalty still would have counted, and Denver would not have been able to line up at the 1-yard line for the two-point conversion.
In that 2019 game, the Bears managed to get into field goal range and kick a game-winner as time expired, so the obscure rule didn’t actually cost Chicago the game. But the Bears still thought it was unfair, and they want to change it.