2018 showed just how broken a few of the NFL’s rules are and now the teams are trying to get things fixed. The competition committee has made their proposals and now the NFL teams themselves are proposing their own rule changes. The parties proposing should make you elicit a small grin as it may be because the ruling had an effect on their season (see Kansas City) but many of these are rulings that need to be revised.
Of the nine rule changes to consider, seven of them have to do with the officiating. Since the rulings are all similar, I’ve grouped each proposal together under the teams proposing the rule changes. You can find everything at the link above.
For any of these rules to pass requires 24 of 32 team votes.
Kansas City Chiefs Submission
To amend Rule 16 to (1) allow both teams the opportunity to possess the ball at least one time in overtime, even if the first team to possess the ball in overtime scores a touchdown; (2) eliminate overtime for preseason; and (3) eliminate overtime coin toss so that winner of initial coin toss to begin game may choose whether to kick or receive, or which goal to defend.
Hmmm, salty from the playoffs much? This is basically a rule in reaction to the 2019 AFC Championship game, where the Chiefs lost the game without even touching the ball. The New England Patriots won the coin toss and received. After an offensive touchdown the game was over.
Originally, it was the first score—field goal or otherwise—that ended the game. After the New Orleans Saints kicked a field goal in overtime to hit the Super Bowl in the 2010 NFC Championship, rules were made allowing the game to keep going after a field goal.
Something does need changed about this rule. Why they don’t just go to what they do in college is beyond me. College playoffs are so much more exciting than what we get for overtime in the NFL. In college, teams get a possession each on their opponent’s 25 yard line. They have four downs to get it in or kick a field goal. After that’s up, the other team gets a shot and the game keeps going until one team outscores the other.
Overtime for preseason sounds like something that can get eliminated, but I doubt the overtime coin toss would be removed. Under this rule change it doesn’t have near the power that it has, but it’s something that will stick.
What should happen: Both teams should go to college overtime structures.
What will happen: It could happen, overtime could be flipped. This would have more of a chance if it was Tom Brady who didn’t get to hit the field instead of Patrick Mahomes, but the NFL has to do something about this.
Kansas City Chiefs submission
To amend Rule 15, Section 2, to add review of personal fouls (called or not called on the field) as plays subject to coaches’ challenge in the instant replay system.
To amend Rule 15, Section 2 to subject all plays that occur during a game to coaches’ challenge by teams or review by the Officiating department in the instant replay system.
To amend Rule 15, Section 2, Article 5 to add review of personal fouls as reviewable plays in the instant replay system.
Carolina Panthers, Los Angeles Rams, Philadelphia Eagles and Seattle Seahawks submission
To amend Rule 15, Section 2, to add review of designated player safety-related fouls (called or not called on the field) as plays subject to coaches’ challenge in the instant replay system.
Denver Broncos submission
To amend Rule 15, Section 2, to add all Try attempts (Extra point or Two-point conversion) to be subject to automatic review in the instant replay system.
To amend Rule 15, Section 2, to add all fourth down plays that are spotted short of the line to gain or goal line to be subject to automatic review in the instant replay system.
Philadelphia Eagles submission
To amend Rule 15, Section 2, to add scoring plays and turnovers negated by a foul to be subject to automatic review in the instant replay system.
Nothing quite says your officiating system is broken like seven teams submitting proposals to fix various things that aren’t all too different from each other.
Let’s sort this out. Many of the plays recommended for coach’s challenges shouldn’t be coach’s challenges at all—they shouldn’t get that far in the first place. They should have someone present to vet calls made or ignored and set things right within 10 seconds. Need more time? Get review time outs. Sell that commercial ad space, get rid of the possession and ridiculous TV time outs and instead use that commercial inventory in review time outs. Emphasize to those in charge that there is never a bad time to call a review time-out so those commercials get aired.
That’s right, forget the challenges, just get the sky judge to quickly look and flag.Call a time out if more time is needed. This isn’t so much a fault on officiating as it is on the NFL not recognizing the game is too fast for anyone to follow in the scrutiny the officials need to. It’s a matter of time before this gets implemented. The problem is, I just don’t see it happening this year. I do think there will be a big fuss about it, I do think after this year there will be huge proposals made to have this changed, and in 2020 it will (finally) be ratified.
Keep in mind, as I saw on Pro Football Talk, these are suggestions by teams, not the competition committee. The fact teams have to propose all of this rather than the competition committee is rather disturbing on its own.
What should happen: Any and all calls are subject to automatic review. Game stoppage is permitted TO GET IT RIGHT!
What will happen: Re-assessed in 2020
To amend Rule 6, Section 1, Article 1 to provide an alternative to the onside kick that would allow a team who is trailing in the game an opportunity to maintain possession of the ball after scoring.
The AAF has something similar to this and a team that is down 17 points can try a 4th and 12 on their 28-yard line. I think it’s all or nothing on this, the NFL won’t implement this by itself. By all or nothing, they would have to eliminate kickoffs completely and make the kickoff a punting situation. Adding this in just to add it would skew the game too much. The only reason to eliminate kickoffs is for safety. I love kickoffs, but I know that their days are numbered. When that happens, I can see this making the rounds.
What should happen: Kickoffs are eliminated
What will happen: Nothing