New OT rules added to all NFL games; replay calls remain on field
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Before bolting to their idling limousines
before noon Wednesday as the NFL concluded its annual league meetings
here, team owners failed to pass a rules change which would have moved
decisions on reviewed plays from the referee on the field to a replay
official in the booth.
The rules change, proposed by the Buffalo Bills, did not appear to have
the support of many owners or team officials this week, and that was
the case when the vote was conducted Wednesday morning. Proponents of
the proposal had suggested that the move might speed up the game, but
competition committee chairman Rich McKay, president of the Atlanta Falcons, suggested that was not the case.
And a few owners emphasized that, while there has been some criticism
of having the replay decisions remain with a referee "under the hood,"
any displeasure was not enough to elicit a change. "The old (adage)
about 'If if ain't broke' ... I think that was the overriding thing,"
said Cincinnati head coach Marvin Lewis.
One change that was adopted was having replay officials automatically
review all turnovers, as was the case with scores last season. McKay
said the move will not notably add to the average game time. In 2011,
when all scoring plays were reviewed, it added only one second per
One significant change, and one that had been rumored since last year,
is that the overtime rules which pertained only to postseason contests,
will now apply to all games. When the league implemented the rule a
year ago, there were questions then about why the competition committee
just didn't make the change for all games. But McKay and others hinted
then, and reiterated Wednesday, that the move perhaps was better coming
The approved change was proposed by the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Owners also declined a rules change that would have eliminated the
exceptions against so-called "horsecollar" tackles for quarterbacks in
the pocket. While emphasizing the increased agenda toward safety in the
game in general, McKay said the proposal "didn't have a real impact on
Tabled on Wednesday, but likely to be adopted later in the year, are a
number of changes that are roster related. Key in that category are
changes that would push back the trade deadline by two weeks, from the
Tuesday following the sixth week of play, until after the eighth
weekend; a rule that would allow a team to designate one player for
return from injured reserve during the season, instead of spending the
entire year on I.R.; a move that would permit players diagnosed with
concussions to be essentially deactivated and replaced on the roster; a
rule that could increase the offseason roster limit from 80 to 90
players; and proposals dealing with roster and deactivation deadlines.
McKay said there was no substantial pushback on any of the roster or
injured reserve proposals, and expects them to eventually pass, with
some revision or refinement of the language in most of them.
Owners will meet again in Atlanta in late May
NFL: New Replay, OT Rules
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