Potential new rules on horizon
We told you a couple days ago about a few rules proposals that will be voted on at the owners' meetings beginning Sunday in Palm Beach.
But there were a handful of others we didn't get into.
One you've probably heard by now is the proposal put forward by Kansas City to legislate that players' hair not cover their jersey nameplate or numbers. Doesn't mean they have to cut their hair. Players would be allowed to pull their hair up in a way that does not obstruct the name or numbers. Don't know about you, but this gets to the heart of the reason we call it the No Fun League (NFL). Why is a rule of this nature necessary? Because the NFL doesn't like identity. It's why the league has someone stationed at every stadium to spot uniform violations and suggest players not in compliance be fined.
A more reasonable proposal, which I believe the competition committee is recommending, would eliminate the force-out rule on sideline catches. Currently, if a player is pushed out while attempting to make a catch on the sideline, officials can rule that the player was forced out. It's a tough judgment call that usually results in a lot of disagreement. The proposal rule streamline the rule so that the only time a force-out would be applicable is when a player is pulled out of bounds. Sounds like a good idea.
Another proposal would expand instant-replay rules to include field goal, a move that was prompted by a controversial kick last season. If the question pertains to whether the ball cleared the crossbar or whether it passed inside or outside of the upright, this proposal would allow the kick to be reviewed. The only scenario where it would not be allowed is to determine whether a kick that passed OVER the upright is good or not. Those will remain a judgment call for officials.
One other interesting one is a push to do away with the 5-yard facemask penalty, which currently is called when a player "grasps" a facemask. If passed, the proposal would remove that penalty and leave only the 15-yard violation, which requires that a facemask be pulled, twisted or turned.
I'll get into some more detail on the playoff seeding proposal and free agency negotiating window in Sunday's paper. If you don't know what I'm talking about, scroll down a few posts and check it out.
EDIT: Thanks to Jay, who commented below. Forgot to mention the coach-to-defense communication proposal that will be voted on, too. It looks to be gaining support and has a chance to pass after previous defeats. They've worked out some of the kinks in the process. Coaches would be allowed to communicate with one member of the defense. There would be two helmets with speakers in them, but the second would be a backup used only in the event the player wearing the primary helmet was injured or had to leave the game.
In the case of Tampa Bay, Barrett Ruud calls the defense, so it presumably would go in his helmet. But the Bucs might also reserve an extra radio helmet for, say, Jermaine Phillips, in case Ruud became injured, ejected, etc. Only then, would Phillips be permitted to wear his backup helmet.