By The Capital Sports Report Staff
A host of NFL clubs have proposed 11 rule changes ahead of the 2019 season, with a view towards improving the game for players and fans alike. The 2019 NFL regular campaign begins on Thursday, 5th September, with the sport set to celebrate a century of NFL seasons.
This season will culminate in Super Bowl LIV, which has been pencilled in to be hosted at Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium in February 2020. Any proposed rule changes must be ratified by the NFL after thorough evaluation from officials, based on recommendations given by the competition’s committee.
The Denver Broncos were one of the most proactive clubs in terms of suggesting rule changes, having proposed three of them to the NFL’s committee. One of the Broncos’ proposed changes would permit teams to forego a kick or kick-off one time in the fourth quarter, giving a trailing team the chance to retain possession after scoring.
Instead of a normal kick-off, the ball would be spotted at the kicking team’s 35-yard line on a fourth down. The receiving team would be required to reach midfield to keep possession, otherwise their opponents would retrieve the ball.
The Broncos are also keen on having touchdown conversion attempts and fourth-down plays deemed short of the line subject to immediate video reviews.
The Chiefs still sore after last year’s American Conference championship
The Kansas City Chiefs are proposing an alteration to rules regarding overtime that would grant each side the opportunity to claim the ball, even if the first team with the ball scores a touchdown. This proposal is largely due to last season’s American Conference championship battle between the Chiefs and the New England Patriots. The Patriots won the coin toss in over-time and powered downfield to score a deciding touchdown, giving the Chiefs no chance to reply.
The Chiefs may have missed out on the championship game last season, but the sportsbooks believe that they have the best possible chance of winning Super Bowl LIV.
Four NFL teams proposed a rule change regarding player safety-related fouls. The Philadelphia Eagles, the Los Angeles Rams, the Seattle Seahawks and the Carolina Panthers each tabled a proposal to allow all of these fouls—regardless of whether they were called on the field—to be subject to challenges from coaches.
The Chiefs further submitted a motion to allow all prospective personal fouls—regardless of whether they were called on the field—to be subject to challenges from coaches.
The Chiefs have certainly been very busy on the rule change proposal front; they also suggested that all overtime be eliminated for pre-season games in a bid to protect players from unnecessary strains and injuries. They also want to see the winner of the pre-game coin toss given the options in overtime without the need for another coin flip.
Replay reviews heavily involved in majority of proposed rule changes
Interestingly, the vast majority of the 11 proposed rule changes are closely linked to replay reviews; some of these changes would have also yielded a penalty decision on the controversial no-call play that stopped the New Orleans Saints in their tracks during the NFC Championship match with the Rams. All NFL owners will be present at the annual league meeting, which will be held from 24th-27th March in Phoenix.
Each rule change proposal requires a minimum of 24 votes out of 32 to gain ratification. If the owners do not approve these proposals this month, they could be debated again during May’s spring league meeting.
On the face of it, many of these rule changes are sensible proposals, particularly from a coaching perspective. The amendments that would have a direct impact on the outcome of a game would be hugely beneficial in breathing new confidence in the sport from fans nationwide. The NFL has long been resistant to change, citing on numerous occasions its fears about prolonging the length of games due to the addition of reviews and challenges.
One can only hope the committee acknowledges that, in order to bring the NFL well and truly into the 21st century, the full use of all available technologies should be embraced, not shunned.
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