“The NFL-900 Page Rule Book”
This will be some interesting week next week in Boca Raton. NFL owners, GMs, Coaches head to Boca Raton and they will examine more potential rule changes.
How many? 19-proposals, some of them radical, some of them stupid, all that will be discussed, thanks to the Competition Committee.
The experiment put into place last year worked, the one where the PAT after Touchdowns became a 33-yard field goal attempt. What was a 99% certainty when the old rule was in place, became a risky proposition in 2015.
NFL kickers missed a record 71-point after kicks last year with the ball placed at the 15-yard line, making the PAT a mid-range field goal. The conversion rate was 92-percent, though with the exception of the Steelers, few clubs felt a need to forego the longer extra point, rather than try to for a 2-point conversion after scores. It was the worst PAT kicking since 1977.
Only 5-of-32 teams hit on 100% of their kicks. The Jaguars went a perfect (48-for-48), and Atlanta was next (39-for-39). The Chargers, aside from a late season fade from kicker Josh Lambo, finished (39-for-41), a 95% conversion rate.
The worst, the team with the biggest leg kicker in the league. The Raiders and Sebastian Janikowski, converted a league worst 88%, missing 4-PATs.
The NFL liked it, even if coaches might not have. The long distance PAT will be put into place forever, if it gets the 24-yes votes needed to make it permanent.
There are all types of wild ideas about instant replay. Buffalo wants every play available for replay. That won’t happen.
What might happen though, is an expansion of replay, where everybody, red-flag happy Rex Ryan included, gets 3-challenges per game, win or lose.
There is also debate of using replay to evaluate personal foul penalties on defenseless players, that will merit strong discussion.
The Competition Committee has spent the off season arguing about Ejection rules. A discussion that 2-personal foul penalties, that include helmet hits, defenseless receiver hits, blows to the QB head and knees, plus kicking, punching, taunting, could lead to ejections. There were 75-unsportsmanlike conduct flags last year, and only 2-instances, the Josh Norman-Odell Beckham incidents, that a player could have been ejected.
There will be arguments to better define what is a catch vs no catch, but that will be language, not a rule change.
The teams will also look at a yardage penalty. If you get a half the distance penalty pushing you back towards your goal line, they want to add the yardage to the distance to the first down. So a holding call, that might cost you 2-yards at the line of scrimmage, would see the other 8-yards extended out, making the first down marker further down the field.
And then there is safety at hand. The NFL will look at changing the touchback rule, trying to end major injuries, telling guys in the end zone, if you elect to take the touchback, we’ll give you the ball at the 25-not-the 20. Kick returners might just consider that a victory, rather than trying to haul a kick back 100-plus-yards or getting hurt in the process.
Shall be fun next week in Boca Raton, where the NFL wants to improve the game, even if it makes it more complicated by adding pages to the bulging NFL rule book.