Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

NFL Rule Proposals Abundant Many of Them Deal with Replay Issues

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

NFL Rule Proposals Abundant Many of Them Deal with Replay Issues

Article excerpt

NFL teams have submitted 13 proposed rules changes to instant replay that will be considered next week at league meetings in Phoenix.

The proposals range from allowing every play to be reviewed, to expanding the number of coaching challenges and even to overturn penalties that have been called.

Most, if any, of those are not likely to receive much support from the team owners, partly because of the time involved in reviewing plays using video.

Rich McKay, chairman of the competition committee, said in a conference call Wednesday that the average time of games dropped from 3 hours, seven minutes, 37 seconds in 2013 to 3:05:53 in 2014, adding "give officials a lot of credit for the way "instant replay" was used to cut back the time of games, something the NFL has tried to do for years.

McKay revealed statistics that purportedly show the NFL's attempts to make the game safer through rules and fines has had a dramatic effect.

Concussions were down 25 percent over the past year and 36 percent since 2012. There was an almost 63 percent drop in NFL fines for hits on defenseless players in 2014 compared to 2013.

"The safety rules and their impact really show on concussions," McKay said.

He noted that players now entering the league have played with new safety rules in high school and college, and it is starting to show in the NFL.

"It shows players are comporting to the rules they grew up with," McKay said.

Several more safety rules will be submitted Monday for the owners' consideration. They include barring any offensive player from using a peel-back block and not allowing someone in the backfield to throw a chop block.

One of the most controversial rules that will be discussed is the so-called Calvin Johnson rule that describes the various steps a receiver must make before a pass reception is ruled as such. Somewhat surprisingly, McKay declined to say what language change the competition committee will present to the owners Monday regarding the rule. …

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