NFL Owners to Vote on Controversial Rule Changes

Tuesday served as an opportunity for the NFL owners to amend and approve a series of minor rule changes, opting to save the more difficult decision for Wednesday, the final day of their annual meetings.

Highlighting the changes for the 2016 season was the elimination of all chop blocks, an expansion of the current horse collar rule to include instances in which defenders grab the nameplate of a jersey, and finally, the permanent approval of the 15-yard line as the official line of scrimmage for extra point attempts.

On deck for Wednesday will be the addressing of a proposal that calls for a player to be automatically ejected from a game if he commits two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties in the same contest. Additionally, the league will further discuss a proposal which seeks to move the touchback after kickoffs to the 25-yard line. No vote took place Tuesday on several amendments to significantly expand instant replay abilities.

 All these proposals will be discussed, and a vote on one or multiple could take place before the owners abscond from the meeting.

According to New York Giants owner John Mara, several coaches have expressed concern over the automatic ejection rule proposal during their morning meetings.

“They worry it will lead to more players being ejected,” Mara said. “But we don’t look at it that way. I think the effect it will have will be, if a player has one, then that might make him think about it before mouthing off to an opponent again in the same game.”

Mara added: “I think we have a sportsmanship problem that we have to deal with. This is one option for dealing with it, and it’s not dead yet.”

During the AFC coaches breakfast Tuesday morning, Houston Texans coach Bill O’Brien expressed a scenario in which he worries about the possibility opposing players will bait players after they’ve been called for one unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

“Let’s just say one of your best players is going to get an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty,” O’Brien said. “Is he going to become a target? Meaning, are they going to go after this guy to try to get him to do something that he gets kicked out of the game? That would be my concern about it, but I’m going to do what they tell me to do.”

Another AFC coach, Ravens boss John Harbaugh, defended his team’s proposal to expand the league’s instant replay to include all rulings, sans a few judgement calls.

“There were five games last year that were determined by nonreviewable calls,” Harbaugh said. “[They] determined the outcome of the game. The fans don’t understand that. They don’t want to look at it and see the official make a mistake [that] everyone saw in real time that the league said, ‘It’s not reviewable. We can’t fix that.’ What do you mean, we can’t fix it? We can’t fix that when we decide not to be able to fix it. We can fix it. Just fix it.”

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.