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NFL Rule Changes for 2014

Posted Mar 26, 2014

Several new rule changes were approved at the NFL Annual Meeting in Orlando this week.

It was a busy three days at the NFL Annual Meeting in Orlando, where owners, coaches, front office officials and members of the NFL’s competition committee discussed a variety of rule changes.

On Tuesday, owners voted to significantly change the instant replay process by allowing referees to communicate with the NFL Officiating Command Center in New York during replay challenges. When the referee arrives at the replay booth, the command center will direct the referee on what to look for on the play. The referee will have the final choice on the review. It is believed this rule change will improve the accuracy and speediness of the replay review. The league also voted to ban “roll up” blocks to the side of a player’s leg and dunking the football over the crossbar of the goalposts in celebration. 

Yet, the majority of voting was done Wednesday with three rules being passed, five rules denied and four tabled.

The goal posts will be extended by five feet to give officials a better view of field goals, and the game clock will now continue to run when the quarterback is sacked outside of two minutes. One of the most noteworthy rule changes was the “NaVorro Bowman Rule,” which allows officials to review a fumble recovery. This rule came to fruition after Bowman clearly recovered a loose ball in last season’s NFL Championship game, but the play could not be reviewed.

Many rules changes were denied, including several proposals to expand plays that could be reviewed, including personal fouls. Proposals to move the kickoff to the 40-yard line and the extra point back to the 25-yard line failed, but the NFL will experiment with the extra-point situation by having extra points in Weeks 1 and 2 of the preseason snapped from the 20-yard line. The other two proposed changes that were voted down were eliminating the training camp roster cut to 75 players and allowing unlimited players on injured reserve to return to the active roster.

Four other proposals were tabled and may be discussed in May at the spring league meeting in Atlanta. These included eliminating overtime in the preseason, expanding the practice squad from eight to ten players and increasing rosters for Thursday night games from 46 to 49. The league also decided to put off whether or not to allow teams to open their retractable roof during halftime of games. Lastly, the competition committee will look at the possibility of adding cameras to all goal lines, sidelines and end lines.      


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