Kansas City Chiefs owner, Clark Hunt, will be heading to the annual NFL Owners Meeting next week in Boca Raton, Fla., and one of the items discussed every year are suggested league rule changes submitted by various teams and the NFL Competition Committee. On Wednesday, the league announced 19 proposed changes that will be discussed and unfortunately, not one of them has anything to do with clarifying what the heck a catch is anymore.
The Chiefs have submitted two of the changes to be voted on, so let’s take a look at some of the proposed changes, who submitted it, and my thumbs up or down on each:
1. Submitted by the Competition Committee: The extra point changes made in 2015 would become permanent. I’ll still hit the bathroom when kickers line up to kick extra points even if they’re from 33 yards out and there’s ample opportunity for them to miss. (Hey, even Cairo Santos muffed a couple of them!) However, last year was infinitely more interesting than the old way where some kickers went entire careers not missing more than a couple of extra point attempts. My take – Thumbs up.
2. By the Competition Committee: Touchbacks after free kicks would come out to the 25-yard line instead of the 20. Touchbacks from punts and kickoffs come out to the 25. Touchbacks resulting from other plays, such as defensive turnovers, would still come out to the 20. My take – Meh … thumbs down just because we already have changed a ton of rules to help offenses.
3. By the Competition Committee: Any player penalized for “certain types” of unsportsmanlike conduct penalties twice in the same game are ejected. Probably a reaction to Aqib Talib being a punk in the last Super Bowl, or the embarrassing Odell Beckham Jr. regular season game against Josh Norman and the Panthers, this rule needs some clarification on what “certain types” of penalties would count. The general consensus is that taunting, punching or kicking, hitting a defenseless player, hitting using the crown of your helmet, or hitting a quarterback late would count towards the two-penalty limit. My take – A BIG thumb’s up.
4. By the Washington Redskins: Make personal fouls reviewable. If a player can be ejected for getting two personal fouls, they should at least be reviewable. This is one of those rules that fans will instinctively gripe about until it happens to their player and then they’ll be all for it. My take – Thumb’s up.
5. By Washington, Baltimore, and Minnesota: Give coaches three challenges per game. Not that I love coach’s challenges but the current rule of getting two and losing one if the video contradicts your challenge is just weird. I would love to see a league statistic about how often coaches used all their challenges throughout a season, but I have no problem in giving them three and that’s that. My take – keep it simple, stupid. Thumb’s up!
6. By Buffalo: Allow coaches to challenge any official’s decision except scoring plays and turnovers. Cuz there’s nothing like seven hour football games!! My take – Ear-splitting shrieking and two thumbs way down.
7. By the Competition Committee: Makes all chop blocks illegal. I didn’t even realize that there were chop block that were “legal” but the current rule only applies to passing plays. The new rule would cover chop blocks on running plays too. The NCAA has had this rule in place since since 1980 and it doesn’t seem to have affected their game too much. Way to be on top of this, NFL! My take – The biggest thumb’s up!
8. BY KANSAS CITY: On half-distance penalties, add penalty yards to the distance needed to gain a first down. Under the current rule, if the Chiefs have a penalty on a second-and-10 play with the ball on their own 10-yard line (backed up against their goal line) and are flagged for holding, the ball is moved back five yards (half the distance to the goal line) and it is now second-and-15 from the five-yard line. Thus, a normal 10-yard penalty is reduced to five. Under the Chiefs proposal, not only would they move back five yards, but the first down marker would move up five yards as well so the full penalty yardage would count and it would be second-and-20 like it would be if they were flagged at any other part of the field. My take – not to be a homer, but I really like this rule change and hope it at least gets a tryout for a year like the league did with the extra points last season. Thumb’s up!
9. BY KANSAS CITY: Prohibits quarterbacks from falling to the ground, getting up, and throwing a forward pass. Otherwise known as the “Peyton Manning Rule” based on the playoff game last year against the Steelers when Manning fell down, got up, and completed a 34-yard pass downfield to Emmanuel Sanders. It became a key play in the Broncos march to a championship as the Steelers claimed that Manning gave himself up when he went to the ground and should have been ruled down. I’ll just say that even though this came from my team, the rule stinks. If you don’t want a quarterback throwing a forward pass after they fall down then TACKLE THEM! My take – Not entirely clear about why the Chiefs proposed this except for bitterness about Denver winning a Super Bowl, but thumb’s down.
10. By Competition Committee: Expands the horse collar rule to include when a defender grabs the jersey at the name plate or above and pulls a runner towards the ground. It’s remarkable that more players haven’t been injured by horse collar tackles in the past, so this is a good change. My take – thumb’s up.
11. By Washington: Eliminate overtime in preseason games. Seriously? This is too logical. Are you sure it came from the Redskins??? My take – thumb’s up!
12. By Carolina: Expand the intentional grounding rule. To quote the Panther’s proposal, “If a passer is facing an imminent loss of yardage because of pressure from the defense [and] chooses to throw a forward pass without a realistic chance of completion” then the passer will be flagged for intentional grounding. This is big because it eliminates the protection a quarterback gets when he moves outside of the tackle box and can get a throw past the line of scrimmage no matter how far out of bounds the pass ends up. In a league that bends over backwards to protect their biggest stars (i.e. quarterbacks) I wouldn’t think this rule has a chance to pass. My take – thumb’s down.
And finally, Baltimore is still a bit aggravated by the New England playoff loss back in January 2015 when the Patriots fooled the Ravens with some clever formations during the AFC divisional playoffs because Baltimore is still proposing rules to make sure it never happens again.
Under this rule change, “An offensive player wearing the number of an eligible pass receiver is permitted to line up in the position of an ineligible pass receiver, provided that he wears a jersey vest matching the team uniform, with an appropriate number for his eligible or ineligible status that has not already been assigned to another teammate.”
Yes. the Ravens want players to wear jersey vests. My take – too busy giggling to give it a full thumb’s down, but come on … seriously?
The owners will meet March 20-23 and will discuss these changes as well as other league matters and it is a safe bet the Ravens and Patriots won’t be breaking bread any time soon.