NFL Considers Rule Changes

Bill Belichick

The NFL’s competition committee, meeting next week in Phoenix, will consider from a plethora of suggestions for improving the league, including at least one triggered by New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick’s inventiveness in the 2014 playoffs.

Two suggestions offered the use of instant replay to review personal foul penalties as well as any penalty that resulted in a first down. A wild suggestion from the Indianapolis Colts argued for a possible nine-point play in which a team successfully converting a two-point conversion would have the opportunity to try a 50-yard field goal for an additional point.

Belichick’s imaginative use of moving offensive players back and forth from eligible to ineligible receivers, which confused the Baltimore Ravens in the playoffs, prompted a suggestion that would “make it illegal for an offensive player with an eligible number to report as ineligible and line up outside the core of the formation.”

Another suggestion entailed moving the line of scrimmage for extra-point attempts back to the 15-yard line. Overtime would be different, too; both teams would have a chance to score.

Even with 23 rule changes offered for consideration, NFL rules asserting that a player must maintain control over a catch as he’s going to the ground were left unmentioned. This despite the controversy over Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant’s overturned reception against the Green Bay Packers in the playoffs.

The Patriots, who want fixed cameras on goal lines, end lines and sidelines, also suggested that all plays except scoring plays or turnovers could be challenged; the Redskins want coaches to have three opportunities for challenges, rather than the two they currently have.


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