In a move that will cause sweeping changes to NFL offensive strategy for the 2016 season and beyond, owners decided Tuesday at the NFL Annual Meeting to abolish any and all "chop" style blocks.
It was a move met with immediate and resounding praise from defensive players tired of getting their legs cut out from underneath them. Offensive lineman, however, were less than enthused as the block was still legal in certain situations. Over the last few years, various changes to the rules have limited the scope on how players could use the technique. It was a valuable tool for offensive linemen coming from the weak side and could even out some speed discrepancies. However, the speed and target area of the blocks could lead to serious injury.
The NFL also decided to permanently leave extra points at the 15-yard line.
Discussion on other proposed changes, such as a rule that would eject players automatically following two unsportsmanlike foul penalties in one game, will remain on the table for Wednesday.
Tuesday's development shows the league's decision-makers were pleased with the jolt provided by a slightly more difficult extra point. Kickers missed the most extra points in a season since 1977. They also had their lowest conversion rate since 1982. The adjusted extra point worked its way into some of the most consequential games of the season, including Stephen Gostkowski's miss in the AFC title game.
Here are the rest of the approved rule changes from Tuesday:
» Offensive and defensive play-callers are able to use the headset communication system whether they are on the field or in the booth.
» A horse-collar tackle has been expanded to include the area "at the nameplate and above."
» A team will be flagged for delay of game if they attempt to call a timeout when they are not allowed to.
» The NFL has eliminated the 5-yard penalty for "an eligible receiver illegally touching a forward pass after being out of bounds and re-establishing himself inbounds, and makes it a loss of down."
» The NFL has eliminated "multiple spots of enforcement for a double foul after a change of possession."