NFL Will Start Flagging End-Zone Dunks in 2014

It’s good that Tony Gonzalez got out of the NFL when he did.

His signature move of dunking over the crossbar after scoring a touchdown was outlawed on Monday by the league owners meeting in Orlando, Florida. Now, it will be a 15-yard penalty and a healthy fine from the league office.

That was just one of several items the league’s owners voted on at the Ritz Carlton Resort in the Florida sunshine.

There was not a new rule added; rather it’s a new interpretation of an old rule where the football can’t be used as a prop. The change came not because of Gonzalez and the former Chiefs tight end’s signature move after a score. The impetus of the change was due to a dunk by New Orleans tight end Jimmy Graham last November that forced a delay in a game at Atlanta because the goal post was knocked askew. The Georgia Dome grounds crew was forced to come out and level the crossbar.

Owners voted in a positive change in the replay-review system, as the referee on the field will be able to communicate directly to the league office in New York for help or clarification of the play he’s about to review.

The league continued its attempts to improve player safety by outlawing low blocks on the side of defenders legs. In the past, only blocks at the backs of defenders legs were banned.

A rules proposal that would allow the home team to open/close a retractable roof at their stadium not only 90 minutes before the game but also at half-time was tabled. It was submitted by Indianapolis and since Colts owner Jim Irsay is in rehab and not attending the meetings league officials decided to wait until he can fully explain his proposal.

NFL owners also voted to ban team policies that required fans to buy tickets to games in the playoffs before a team was assured a post-season home game. The new policy allows teams to collect credit card information from potential ticket buyers but their cards cannot be charged until they are assured a game at home.

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