NFL adds 5 new rules, impacting overtime, instant replay and more
12:42 PM, March 28, 2012
PALM BEACH, Fla. – The NFL adopted five new playing-rule proposals at the owners' meetings today, including a new overtime format for regular-season games and an automatic review of most turnovers.
The new replay rules do not include automatic review of all end-zone plays, and thus would have affected calls such as Titus Young’s missed touchdown catch in a January loss to Green Bay only indirectly.
Replays showed Young caught an 11-yard touchdown pass from Matthew Stafford midway through the second quarter of the Lions’ regular-season finale, but the play was ruled incomplete on the field, and Lions coach Jim Schwartz was out of challenges after losing two turnover reviews earlier in the half.
Both turnovers would be subject to booth review going forward and not available for challenge by coaches.
“I think what the committee has pretty clearly said is they want to make it a little bit easier on the coaches, in terms of the demands on their challenges, hence the proposal that all turnovers would be automatically reviewed in the booth,” Lions president Tom Lewand said earlier this week. “So now, to use the Titus example, we wouldn’t have had to review the turnover that just occurred, so you would have a challenge in that case.
“And I think, too, it’s about how everything works together. If the official had called it a score, that sends it up to the booth for a replay. So it’s a little bit of a default position in having some of the officials adjust some of their default position on anything in the end zone. When in doubt, call it a score, and we know it gets reviewed.”
Regular-season games now will carry the postseason overtime format, with each team guaranteed at least one possession, as long the receiving team doesn’t win the game on a touchdown or lose on a safety or defensive score. After the first possession of overtime, games revert to sudden death.
The NFL adopted three other playing-rule proposals today but tabled a number of bylaw proposals until May, including moving the trade deadline back two weeks, expanding preseason rosters to 90 and adding an injured-reserve exemption allowing a player to return after eight weeks.
The other playing rules adopted were adding a loss-of-down penalty for illegally kicking a loose ball, making a too-many-men-in-a-formation penalty a dead-ball foul, and adding the recipient of a crackback block to the list of defenseless players.
Lions coach Jim Schwartz said the new crackback block rule will help eliminate plays similar to the one on which Kyle Vanden Bosch was injured two years ago, against the New England Patriots.
“I think that rule proposal is just a way of also recognizing that sometimes there’s defensive players that are defenseless,” Schwartz said. “The proposal is that you can’t hit that person in the head/neck area, just like a quarterback in the pocket, or with your head or neck."
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