Lost among Tebowmania and Bounty-gate, the NFL Competition Committee came out with their rule change proposals for the upcoming 2012 season yesterday. There are 7 rule proposals and 6 bylaw proposals making it 13 potential changes overall. From top to bottom here are the potential rule changes for 2012:
Proposed rule changes
1. Replay officials, not the referee on the field, are given the authority to determine replay reviews.
2. Horse-collar tackles will now include quarterbacks in the pocket. Previously, they were exempt and it was legal to bring them down by the back of their shoulder pads or the inside collar of their jersey. (Yes, the irony isn’t lost on us either; for all the protections quarterbacks receive, it’s still perfectly legal to bring them down horse-collar style in the pocket.)
3. Overtime rules that applied during the postseason would now be applied to regular-season games, too. Which means that there won’t be a regular-season overtime game decided after one possession that ends in a field goal.
4. Kicking a loose ball would now include loss of down as part of the penalty.
5. The too-many-men-on-the-field penalty would add a dead-ball-foul component if teams line up with (wait for it…) too many men for at least four seconds, or if the snap is imminent. In such cases, it will be a five-yard penalty.
6. The defenseless player rule now includes … defensive players (fancy that). Specifically, defenders would be protected against crackback blocks, making it illegal to hit them in the head or neck area.
7. The replay booth would automatically review turnovers in the same way that every scoring play is now reviewed.
1. Teams that play on Thanksgiving or Christmas would have roster exemptions not afforded teams that play the regular Sunday-Monday schedules.
2. The trade deadline would move from Week 6 to Week 8.
3. Roster limits for training camp and the offseason would expand to 90 players. Unsigned draft picks would count toward that limit (Currently, they do not).
4. Final cutdown day leading up to the regular season would be on a Friday night instead of a Saturday to give the two teams playing in the season opener an extra day of work with their final 53 in preparation for Week 1. This year, the season opener has been rescheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 5 — a day earlier than previous years — because President Obama is speaking at the Democratic National Convention on Thursday.
5. An exemption to the injured-reserve rule. Currently, a player placed on IR is done for the season. The bylaw: if a player is on the roster through the first regular-season weekend, said player can land on IR, and when healthy, be designated for a return to the active roster. They can practice with the team six weeks later, and play in games eight weeks after the original designation.
6. One roster exemption per team per week for a player inactive with a concussion.
I like some of these such as the modified IR rule to allow guys to come back rather than throw the whole season away. Also the trading deadline change would be nice since all the other leagues have their trading deadline after the half-way point so the NFL would be a little bit closer on that.