Among the revelations at Roger Goodell's state of the NFL address on Friday was the announcement that the commissioner is pursuing a change to the in-game discipline policy with the league's competition committee.
The commish said he would like to see a rule put in place that would make two personal fouls in a game a mandatory ejection for the player at the time of the second foul.
“That’s consistent with what we believe are the safety issues and the standards of sportsmanship. We should take that out of the hands of the officials at that point," Goodell said. "We will look to see if we can reach an agreement on the conditions in which they would be ejected.”
Goodell said the issue will be taken up with the NFL Players’ Association this month at the Combine, and furthered at the March owners’ meetings with the Competition Committee, of which Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis is a member.
Had the two-fouls-and-out rule been in use, the Bengals would not have been penalized that much under Lewis, although the reputation of often fined Cincinnati linebacker Vontaze Burfict might lead some to guess otherwise.
Burfict, the recipient of a three-game suspension by the NFL after the Wild Card playoff meltdown against Pittsburgh, is the only player on the Bengals who has a penchant for such fouls. But he would have been hit with the two-and-out ejection just once had the rule been used during his time as a Bengal, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Burfict is the Bengals' leader in unnecessary roughness penalties over the last three years, but he's only had one game in which he's received multiple personal fouls: Week 6 in 2013 at Buffalo.
Enquirer research indicated the Bengals were in the NFL's bottom five in unnecessary roughness penalties each of the last three years, the mark of a well-behaved team. Reporter Paul Dehner Jr. said Burfict committed "33 percent" of the last 37 Bengals unnecessary roughness penalties.
Thirty-three percent of 37 is 12.33. If Burfict had 12 such fouls of the past 37, that would be 32.4 percent. If he had 13, that would be 35 percent. Either way, it's too many. If it continues next season for Burfict, his suspension time may not be his only ouster.