The NFL meetings start on Sunday
The annual NFL meetings will begin on Sunday. During these meetings, the precedent for the rules for the NFL season will start to get set. There have been ongoing discussions thus far by the league to continue to improve the game. On a conference call this morning, Troy Vincent, NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations, mentioned that the committee started the offseason a week after the Super Bowl, and began looking at the 2018 season in its entirety. They looked at all of the data and analytics around the game, reviewed head coach and general manager surveys, video footage etc.
One of the points emphasized the unnecessary roughness calls and the use of replay with those calls. These calls include roughing the passer, pass interference, etc.
Some of the most interesting rule proposals
- Adding scoring plays negated by a penalty to be reviewed
- 4th down plays ruled short on the field automatically reviewed
- Pass interference, roughing the passer, unnecessary roughness penalties to be reviewed
- Both teams get the chance to possess the ball in overtime
- All attempts for an extra point/2 point conversion reviewed
- Change the enforcement ruling of double fouls when there is a change in possession
- Provide an alternative to an onside kick that would allow a trailing team to retain possession of the ball after scoring
- All plays throughout the entire duration of the game should be allowed a coaches’ challenge
- Add review of personal fouls to coaches’ challenge whether it be called or not called on the field
How many of these proposals will make it through?
For the proposals to move further, during the meetings 24 teams need to vote in favor of the rules. Otherwise, there’s always next year. Last year, it seemed like the emphasis was on player safety. However, the focus on player safety proved to cause more controversial calls for pass interference and roughing the passer. There were countless games this season with crucial, game-changing roughing the passer calls.
Where do the Eagles stand on these matters for the NFL meetings?
There are several proposals coming from multiple teams that allow that penalty to be subject to review or a coaches’ challenge whether it be called or not on the field. One of the teams in on these proposals is the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles are in on what I feel is one of the most crucial proposals in this year’s meetings. The Eagles, Rams, Seahawks, and Panthers are proposing “to amend Rule 15, Section 2, to add review of designated player safety-related fouls (called or not called on the field) as plays subject to coaches’ challenge in the instant replay system.”
If you remember, the Eagles were victim to a few horrible calls and non-calls when it comes to roughing the passer penalties. There were two against Michael Bennett against the Vikings when he got two clean sacks on Kirk Cousins. There was also the phantom offensive pass interference call on Dallas Goedert against the Cowboys. Perhaps the most abysmal offense was the non-call on JaDeveon Clowney in the second to last regular game of the season. Clowney dragged Nick Foles to the ground by his face mask and the officials made no call. It was such an egregious miss that Foles himself was screaming in the face of the official. I also blew out my voice for the next two days, but that’s neither here nor there. During these NFL meetings, the Eagles are on the side of fairness.
Conference call with Troy Vincent and Atlanta Falcons President and CEO and Competition Committee Chairman Rich McKay
During the conference call about the NFL meetings, Troy and Rich gave good insight into the discussions coming. They mentioned the idea of an 8th official involved during NFL games. They tossed around the idea of having that official up in the box, however, committee members have not supported that in the past.
There has also been a lot of discussion about the overtime rules. However, the committee feels like not forcing one team to play defense, knowing they will get the ball no matter what, compromises the competitive nature of the game and of the traditional overtime rules.
What rule changes will come for 2019?
It will be really interesting to see how these rule changes play out. The NFL put the emphasis on player safety in 2018. However, it compromised the rules of the game which ultimately affected the outcomes. This year, there is a focus on keeping the players safe while also keeping the game fair.