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'Tuck Rule': NFL could eliminate controversial call

The NFL Competition Committee held a conference call Thursday to go over possible rule change proposals that will be discussed at the NFL Annual Meeting, which starts Sunday in Phoenix.

One item on the agenda is sure to be cheered by Oakland Raiders fans, although the notion probably will be seen as too little, too late.

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The NFL will propose to eliminate "The Tuck Rule."

The change would make it so a player loses possession when he tries to bring the ball back to his body. (Yes, then Tom Brady's play should have been ruled a fumble in that case.) If the passer loses control while the ball is going forward, it's still incomplete. If he loses the ball while tucking, it's a fumble.

This is a rule that never made a lot of sense to us in the first place. We're not sure why it took more than a decade after the Patriots-Raiders divisional-round playoff game after the 2001 season for this rule to change.

Other proposals included:

» The league would change the rules regarding illegally throwing the challenge flag. This is in response to last season's Thanksgiving game, in which a Houston Texans touchdown could not be reviewed after Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz illegally throw a flag. Moving forward, the play still would be reviewed no matter what. Any coach who illegally challenges a play would be charged a timeout. He wouldn't get the timeout back even if he wins the challenge. If the team is out of timeouts, it would be charged a 15-yard penalty.

Call this the "Jim Schwartz Rule." It's a no-brainer.

» The league would allow H-backs to wear uniform numbers 40 through 49.

» The league also will propose three player health and safety rules. They include eliminating low blocks when offensive players are going toward their own end lines in the tackle box. One other proposal includes not allowing a runner to initiate contact with the crown of his helmet when outside the tackle box. This is sure to be a hot topic.

NFL owners will vote on these proposals, among other more minor ones, at the annual meeting.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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