NFL clubs propose 15 rule tweaks; 5 tied to replay

NFL teams have submitted a total of 15 rule and bylaw change proposals for owners to consider when they meet later this month in Phoenix, most notably five potential enhancements to the league’s replay review system.

The NFL competition committee has yet to weigh in on the proposals, nor suggest any of its own. But unless they are retracted, each of the team suggestions will at least be put in front of owners.

The Detroit Lions submitted three replay-based rule changes. One would allow coaches to challenge personal foul penalties. Another would permit replay officials to consult on penalty enforcement, instead of the more limited menu of plays they can currently assist on. A third would give coaches a third challenge if they win one of their initial two challenges; the current rule requires them to win both in order to get a third.

The Houston Texans added a related proposal that would give the replay official jurisdiction to review failed fourth-down attempts. The final replay-based rule proposal came from the Los Angeles Rams, who want roughing the passer penalties to be reviewable and/or challengeable by coaches.

Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Eagles have taken another stab at creating an alternative to the onside kick. The Eagles’ proposal would allow a team to maintain possession after a score if it converts a fourth-and-20 play from their own 20-yard line immediately afterwards. Previous attempts that have prescribed a fourth-and-15 conversion have been voted down by owners.

Some of the proposals are directed at obscure parts of the game. Highlights of the others include:

  • Use of the uniform number “0,” submitted by the Eagles.

  • Requiring game clocks to display tenths of a second in the final 30 seconds of each half, also from the Eagles.

  • Allowing teams to designate an emergency No. 3 quarterback from its inactive list or practice squad who would be eligible to enter a game if the team’s other two quarterbacks are ruled out, from the Lions.

  • Allowing a wild-card team to be seeded higher than a division champion if the division champion has a losing record and the wild-card team has won at least four more games than the division champion, from the Los Angeles Chargers.

  • An expansion of the illegal crackback rule, from the New York Jets.

  • Reducing all preseason roster cutdown deadlines to one day, proposed by 25 teams.

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