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NFL bails on promising rule proposals, but provides some roster reprieve

© Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports


The NFL reviewed six rule proposals and adopted four changes. Two of the proposals, which would have added a sky judge and senior technology advisor to the booth, were rejected, along with an onside kick proposal that would have provided an untimed down on a fourth-and-15 attempt from a team’s own 25-yard line.

The sky judge was nixed reportedly because the NFL felt it needed more time to review what power a sky judge would have.

Why does the NFL need more time figure out that a sky judge is a positive thing? Well, it’s the NFL, and change is against the league’s nature. After the XFL demonstrated just how effective and easy it was to implement, the NFL said, “Wait, how much power will they have? What if we can’t find enough qualified people?” Per usual, the league cowered from the issue of refereeing mistakes under the premise of how, from a logistical standpoint, a sky judge would work.

The sky judge will be tested in the preseason and tabled for regular season implementation.

​Below are the new playing rules and bylaws that were adopted by NFL clubs today, with maybe the most substantial change coming in the addition of a third injured reserve return player. Previously, teams could return two players from injured reserve who made the final 53-man roster. They can now return three:

Approved 2020 Playing Rules Summary

By Philadelphia; to amend Rule 15, Section 2, to make permanent the expansion of automatic replay reviews to include scoring plays and turnovers negated by a foul, and any successful or unsuccessful Try attempt.​​

By Competition Committee; expands defenseless player protection to a kickoff or punt returner who is in possession of the ball but who has not had time to avoid or ward off the impending contact of an opponent.

By Competition Committee; prevents teams from manipulating the game clock by com​​mitting multiple dead-ball fouls while the clock is running.​

Approved 2020 Bylaws Summary

By League Office; increases the number of players that may be designated for return from two to three. Incorporates interpretations applicable to bye weeks during the regular season and postseason.​​​

Below is the full list of proposed rule changes:

COMPETITION COMMITTEE RULES PROPOSALS

  • By the Competition Committee, to amend Rule 12, Section 2, Article 9, to expand defenseless player protection to a kickoff or punt returner who is in possession of the ball but who has not had time to avoid or ward off the impending contact of an opponent.
  • By the Competition Committee, to amend Rule 4, Section 3, Article 2, to prevent teams from manipulating the game clock by committing multiple dead-ball fouls while the clock is running.

CLUB PLAYING RULES PROPOSALS

  • By Philadelphia; to amend Rule 15, Section 2, to make permanent the expansion of automatic replay reviews to include scoring plays and turnovers negated by a foul, and any successful or unsuccessful Try attempt.
  • By Philadelphia; to amend Rule 6, Section 1, Article 1, to provide an alternative to the onside kick that would allow a team an opportunity to maintain possession of the ball after scoring (4th and 15 from the kicking team’s 25-yard line).
  • By Miami; to amend Rule 4, Section 3, Article 2, to provide the option to the defense for the game clock to start on the referee’s signal if the defense declines an offensive penalty that occurs late in either half.
  • By Baltimore and Los Angeles Chargers; to amend Rule 19, Section 2, to add a “booth umpire” as an eighth game official to the officiating crew.
  • By Baltimore and Los Angeles Chargers; to amend Rule 19, Section 2, to add a Senior Technology Advisor to the Referee to assist the officiating crew.
 

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