New Rule Could Bring Jaguars Home

The NFL's annual owner meetings begin on Monday, and thanks to a NFL conference call with the media, we found out about some proposed rule changes.

One of which that could possibly benefit the Jaguars in the future, and would've benefited the team over two of the past three seasons would be the proposed rule change to allow wildcard teams to host a first-round playoff game if they have a better record than the division champion. If there was a similar record between the two teams, the division champion would host the game.

In 2007, Jacksonville had to travel to Pittsburgh in an opening round playoff game, despite the Jaguars having a better record than the Steelers, and despite having defeated them just three weeks earlier. As many remember, the Jaguars completed the sweep and became the first team to win two games in Pittsburgh in a single season. In 2005, Jacksonville was faced with a similar situation as they finished the regular season with a 12-4 record, yet had to travel to defending Super Bowl champion New England, who finished with a 10-6 mark. As Jaguars fans remember, the visitors mysteriously had communication problems with the headsets throughout much of the first half, and ended up on the rough end of a 28-3 beating.

In both situations, the home teams dropped their final regular season games likely due to resting starters because they couldn't improve their seeds, thus rendering the final weeks of those seasons meaningless. The league would like to promote the integrity of the game, and hopefully have less teams "tank" in the final weeks. Atlanta Falcons former general manager Rich McKay addressed a question on Wednesday about teams "tanking," by resting their regulars. Here was his response—

"I think the Committee has always taken the position that we don't want to be in the business of trying to dictate what coaches have to do late in the season with respect to the decisions they are going to make. They've earned the right to make those decisions. They may have injuries that they've decided to rest, and other times they decide not to. As we saw this year, coaches made those choices.

"I think we do support the idea that a Playoff seeding and the potential reworking of Playoff seeding can motivate coaches late in the year based on seed and potential home game or not home game to have more games that count late in the year. So for us, we think that's a better solution than ever getting in the business of trying to legislate who a coach will play."

One other proposed rule change that could affect certain players on the Jaguars roster is the rule to limit hair to above the players name on the back of their uniform. Jaguars that it could possibly affect are cornerback Rashean Mathis, safety Reggie Nelson, and safety Lamont Thompson, among some others.

Some other rules that will be readdressed will be the "force out" rule, as the league may discontinue it. They will likely make field goal attempts a play that would be reviewable; The league will take a look at the current coin toss options and possibly give the winning team the option to defer until the second half, much like the collegiate rule; Another area of review will be the five-yard facemask penalty, which could be dismissed; One other adjustment could be the addition of communication devices for a specific defensive player, similar as to what the quarterbacks currently have. One final potential rule change is a moratorium on free agency contract negotiations prior to the start of free agency, a rule which could completely change the way business is done in February and March.


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