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Need to Know: Five NFL rule changes that should be approved without debate

Mar 21, 2014, 5:17 AM EDT

NFL-replay-booth

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, March 21, 17 days before the Redskins start their offseason workouts.

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Here are five of the proposed NFL rule changes that should pass with no debate:

Permit a coach to challenge any official’s decision, except scoring plays which are automatically reviewed—I was scoffed at by some when I suggested in this space a couple of months ago that a coach should be able to use his two challenges on anything he thinks should be reviewed. If there’s no indisputable video evidence, the coach loses the challenge and the timeout. Well, now no less than Bill Belichick agrees with me as this is a Patriots proposal.

Re-organize the rules about what can be reviewed and what cannot be reviewed, including making the recovery of a loose ball in the field of play reviewable—OK, if you don’t want to open up offside calls to review how about the big, obvious things like the fumble that Bowman recovered in the NFC title game while being injured?

Allow the referee to consult with members of the NFL officiating department during replay reviews. The referee would be able to speak with the command center in New York to help in reviewing a play—Can you tell I don’t like the replay process? This would let officials in New York do quality control over the review process and they could get a head start on the process while the referee is talking to the coach, making the announcement of the challenge, jogging to the replay booth, and getting the headset on. Better replay calls in less time? Sign me up.

Extend the goal posts an additional five feet above the cross bar—If it increases the accuracy of calls—and this clearly would—just do it and move on. Surprised this needs a three-fourths vote of the owners to get changed. It’s common sense.

Enforce defensive fouls behind the line of scrimmage from the previous spot, rather than from the end of the run or from the spot of the foul—This makes perfect sense. If a team tackles the quarterback by the facemask deep in the pocket, it could only end being penalized five yards past the previous spot. A personal foul penalty should hurt. But if they do this, they need to mark off offensive personal fouls on the offense that are behind the line from the spot of the foul. If there’s a chop block five yards behind the line, enforce it from there.

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Timeline

—It’s been 82 days since the Redskins played a game; it will be about 170 days until they play another one.

Days until: Offseason workouts start 17; NFL Draft 48; Training camp starts 124

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  1. kenlinkins - Mar 21, 2014 at 8:44 AM

    I would love to see them make the field 2 to 4 yards wider on each side. Over the years players have become much faster and bigger. This would force defense’s to cover more ground and reduce the “targeting” or “Highlight” hits that have caused so many injuries. The “Out” pattern would be more of a gamble. teams would run more trying to reach the edge, QB’s could use the roll out more or draw plays more often, and the “Bigger Armed” QB’s would go deep due to the extra room just to name a few things. The best reason to do this is it would reduce injuries by spreading out the players just a little bit and you would see more “Driving” tackles instead of the “missile” type tackles from guys trying to get on ESPN’s Sport Center.

    • Rich Tandler - Mar 21, 2014 at 8:47 AM

      That’s an excellent idea, I would certainly support it.

      > >

    • maxpower65 - Mar 21, 2014 at 9:19 AM

      One problem could be fitting wider fields within existing stadiums. Actually, I believe the original field width was determined by stadium constraints at the time.

  2. colmac69 - Mar 21, 2014 at 12:26 PM

    Make goal posts narrower….with ep almost automatic and fg made percentage off the chart its time to make kicks more of a challenge. …would also like to c pass interference restricted to 15 yds only rather than spot foul….like idea of being able to challenge any decision made by ref….officials should clamp dwn on pick plays….its ridiculous how teams get away with deliberately interfering with opp players on “so called pick plays” ie denver broncos on particular. …however wont hold me breathe on many gd changes being made

  3. csting3 - Mar 21, 2014 at 4:36 PM

    I say use the same replay system that hockey uses. An official in New York (Toronto for hockey) reviews the play and tells the officials on the headset if it’s reversed or not. I don’t care what anyone says, it’s human nature to not want to overturn your own call, or the call of a colleague. An official not involved in the game will be much more impartial than one on the field.

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