The NFL will hold its annual spring meeting next week in Orlando and they’ll need plenty of extra time to consider a significant number of changes to rules and regulations.
Ultimately, knowing how full ownership tends to handle change very slowly, many of these suggestions from individual teams and the league’s competition committee will likely be tabled, delayed for more discussion or shot down by negative votes.
The agenda was revealed Wednesday by the league and has a number of ideas that are worthy of consideration and discussion. Here are some of them with our opinions:
- During instant replay reviews, allow the referee to consult with the league’s officiating department in New York. (Why not just have the folks in New York to decide replay challenges initiated by the head coaches or replay booth assistant. The automatic review of scoring plays and turnovers would be done at the stadium. Centralize the power.)
- Eliminate overtime in pre-season games. (This should be a 32-0 vote to stop the OT silliness.)
- Move the line of scrimmage for a PAT kick to the 20 or 25-yard line. (It’s worth experimenting with this in pre-season games, otherwise there’s way too much attention to the 1-point play. Either leave it alone, or take it away.)
- Permit head coaches to challenge an official’s decision on all plays. (Sounds like it would extend the time it takes to play a game, but with the same rules applying β lose timeout with failed challenge β it would probably lead to less than a dozen extra reviews in an entire season.)
- Add six television cameras on the field at the boundary lines: sidelines, goal lines and end lines. (This was suggested by the Patriots, a team that knows something about cameras on the field. The premise is a good one, but logistically, it’s hard to see how this happens. If you’ve ever seen all the people that are on the sidelines during games, it’s going to be hard to keep a clear view for these new cameras.)
- Increase the practice squad from eight to 10. (Why not? If they are willing to pay, the more the merrier.)
- Allow any player placed on the injured-reserve list to come back after six weeks. (Why not? I’m not sure why in the first place the league established rules limiting the return of injured players. The product is the players and if an injury takes 10 weeks to heal, then the player should be allowed to come back. There should be a minimum β six or eight weeks β but a team shouldn’t have to lose the services of a player that can physically get back on the field.)
- Increase the number of active players for games on Thursday or Saturday from 46 to 49. (This is an attempt to show concern about player safety when they have less than six or seven days for recovery. I would purpose that for Thursday games that are now played every week of the schedule, teams can dress all 53 players on their active roster.)
- Eliminate the league cutdown in the pre-season from 90 to 75; instead the only roster reduction would be from 90 to 53. (If the league is going to continue with four pre-season games, then there is no reason for the intermediate cut to 75 players. Having bodies for the last exhibition game when starters rarely step on the field would be helpful to coaches and would give fringe players another chance to make an impression.)
- Allow teams with retractable roofs on their stadium the option to make a decision at half-time whether the roof should be open or closed. Currently, the decision is made before the start of the game. (I say no to this one. Make a decision and stick with it for the entire game.)
There are several other changes and alterations to be considered, including moving the kickoff point to the 40-yard line, expanding instant replay to consider personal foul penalties, extending the uprights on the goal posts five more feet and adjust time of the league cutdown to 53 players from 5 p.m. CDT to 3 p.m.