Change is the only constant in the NFL. Since the league's inception, owners have annually looked at ways to adjust the sport's rules and bylaws for the better.
This year will be no exception. The NFL Competition Committee spoke with the media Wednesday in advance of next week's Annual League Meeting to discuss the newest rules proposals that will be discussed. Thirteen rule changes, seven bylaw changes and one resolution were proposed.
Here's what you need to know about all the rules that will be discussed and potentially voted on by the owners next week.
- As expected, the NFL will consider adding a new layer to replay reviews. The owners will discuss allowing a referee to consult with the NFL officiating department in New York during reviews. The hope is to increase accuracy on calls and speed. The ref would speak with the command center, who will have already started to view the play after it was challenged.
We expect this proposal has a strong chance of passing.
Fourteen of the 21 changes mentioned above came from NFL teams. (With New England and the Washington Redskins contributing 12 of them combined.)
The committee supports a less radical idea. They want to move PATs to the 20-yard line during one week of preseason action in 2014. This softer change has a much better chance of becoming a reality this summer, then the league could evaluate how it worked.
- The Redskins proposed moving kickoffs to the 40-yard line. That would increase the amount of touchbacks even higher. Our instinct: This is a long shot.
- Bill Belichick often has talked about the lack of cameras on the goal line in NFL stadiums to review potential touchdowns. The Patriots proposed putting a camera on all six boundary lines: two sidelines, two goal lines and two end lines. The idea would be to have sufficient camera coverage for all replay reviews.
- The committee proposed that the clock should run after all sacks.
- There were also a number of interesting bylaw proposals from the Redskins and the committee. The most interesting: raising the number of active players on game day from 46 to 49 when teams play on Thursday (or Saturday), excluding Week 1.
- Other roster adjustment proposals: raising the practice squad limit to 10 and allowing more than one player per team to return from injured reserve to the active roster. Essentially the second proposal suggests that any player could return from injured reserve after six weeks.
- One proposal would allow teams to trade players prior to the start of the league year in March.
- The Redskins proposed cutting down final rosters from 90 players in training camp right to the 53-man roster. That would eliminate the first camp cutdown from 90 to 75.
There were a few more rules proposals related to pass interference and player safety that essentially just cleaned up and clarified previous rules. For those rules and a breakdown of all the player safety implications, head over to our friends at NFL Evolution.