The month of March in the NFL creates a madness all of its own among franchises, players, media and fans.
From the March 3 deadline to use a club’s franchise tag, to the start of the league’s new year that commences along with free agency on March 11, right up to the annual NFL Owner’s Meetings March 23-26, the NFL is utter chaos.
Perhaps the most important of these events is the powwow amongst the owners.
For those who are unaware those meetings include team owners, head coaches and front office personnel who travel to Orlando, Florida for the annual league meetings. At these meetings, owners vote on potential rules changes and discuss other issues around the league.
Perhaps even more important at these meetings the NFL also announces the number of compensatory picks each team has.
As NFL Competition Committee member and Green Bay Packers CEO Mark Murphy pointed out earlier this month in a column on their team’s website, key issues facing the NFL Competition Committee which will be voted upon in Florida include potential rules changes designed to make the game safer.
Some of the potential changes being considered are:
- New rules on current blocks (chop, roll, downfield cut and peel-back)
- Enhanced protection for quarterbacks running read-option offenses
- The current “hands to the face” penalty
- Playoff expansion adding a No. 7 seed in each conference
- Taunting penalties to promote respect and integrity
- New Instant Replay System, managed from one central location, eliminating “the hood”
Two other ideas being evaluated by the owners include low hits on defenseless players (Randall Cobb injury vs. the Ravens). Murphy contends in the aforementioned article that since defensive backs can’t hit defenseless players high, the current rules force them to hit these receivers low resulting in damaging knee injuries.
The league is also considering some modification to the point-after-touchdown (PAT) — something that has agitated Ravens kicker Justin Tucker.
“People are trying to phase kickers out of the game. That’s as blunt as I can be about it,” Tucker stated on the Ravens official website.
“I don’t think it’s necessary to change the game every couple of years to make it more exciting. It’s plenty exciting. If you want it to be more exciting, TV timeouts could be a little shorter and we could actually play some football.”
Tucker also took to Twitter recently to further emphasize his point.
“Specialists start getting ‘phased out’ via total removal of the PAT. That’s basically what I am most against.”
Tucker added, “If we have to change the PAT for whatever ‘reason’, let’s call it 1pt for a 20yd att and 2pts from 50? Let’s keep the ‘foot’ in football!”
The proposal is to eliminate the PAT kick and just give teams seven points for a touchdown or as recently suggested moving the extra point back to the 25-yard line resulting in a 42-yard PAT attempt.
While all of these proposed changes may not make it to the owners meetings for potential rule changes they appear to be on the horizon. Maybe not in 2014, but the game has vastly changed before our eyes and one thing is for certain…
This isn’t the NFL of yesteryear anymore.
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