Super Bowl LVIII - San Francisco 49ers v Kansas City Chiefs
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These proposals will be voted on at next week’s league meeting

The NFL Competition Committee released a 45-page document titled “2024 playing rules, bylaw and resolution proposals.” Ten total rule proposals were from the Detroit Lions, Philadelphia Eagles, Indianapolis Colts, and the Competition Committee. Let’s walk through each.

  • The Lions proposed that a team should be able to challenge for a third time after one successful challenge.
  • The Eagles proposed eliminating the first touch spot after the receiving team possesses the ball. They also brought back their onside kick suggestion, where a team maintains possession of the ball after a score by substituting one offensive play — 4th & 20 from the 20-yard line — instead of an onside kickoff attempt.
  • The Colts want to permit a coach or replay official inside of two minutes to challenge any foul that has been called.

Those were the teams’ proposals. Detroit is on the right track, as you should be rewarded for successive successful challenges.

I’m not sure the league wants to slow the game down, which is what would happen under the Colts’ proposal.

Let’s get to the Competition Committee’s proposals:

  • Allow for enforcement of a major foul by the offense prior to a change of possession in a situation where there are fouls by both teams.
  • Include a ruling of a passer down by contact or out of bounds before throwing a pass as a reviewable play.
  • Allow replay review when there is clear and obvious visual evidence that the game clock expired before any snap.
  • Eliminate a potentially dangerous tackling technique
  • To expand the crackback prohibition to players who go in motion and move beyond the center to block a defender at or below the knee
  • Create a new form of a free kick play that is designed to remsemble a typical scrimmage play by aligning players on both teams closer together and restricting movement to reduce space and speed; and promote more returns.

There were no proposals this year for a ball-carrier fumbling, which resulted in a touchback. It’s happened 12 times in the past six seasons, which may sound like a lot on the surface, but we’re talking about a quarter-million plays during that span.

The hip-drop tackle is the proposal making the rounds. Here’s the language:

I can already see the timing of this penalty, which is wholly subjective, coming back to bite a team at the worst possible time. A safety, the last line of defense, will do whatever it takes to get the runner on the ground in the open field in a 1-on-1 situation. But because a referee deems his tackle illegal, that 3rd & 2 could turn into a first down.

The kickoff proposal would be the most significant rule change the NFL has had in some time. Here are more details about what the changes would entail:

“The kicker would continue to kick from the 35-yard line, but the other 10 players would line up at the receiving team’s 40-yard line. At least nine members of the return team would line up in a “set-up zone” between the 35- and 30-yard line. Up to two returners can line up in a “landing zone” between the goal line and the 20-yard line. No one other than the kicker and returner(s) can move until the ball hits the ground or a player inside the landing zone. Touchbacks would be marked at the 35-yard line and no fair catches would be allowed.”

The league meetings are next week. For these proposals to pass, 24 of the 32 owners must vote “yes.”

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