NFL meetings notebook: ‘Phil Dawson rule’ adopted

Street Talk NFL meetings notebook: ‘Phil Dawson rule’ adopted

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PALM BEACH, Fla. — The bizarre ending to the Baltimore Ravens’ overtime loss last season to the Cleveland Browns has been immortalized as a controversial field goal ultimately triggered a change to the NFL rulebook.

NFL team owners approved a proposal Wednesday to make field goals and extra points subject to instant replay at the close of their annual league meetings.

Call it the Phil Dawson rule, a change that the Ravens voted in favor of.

The Browns’ kicker booted a game-tying, last-second 51-yard field goal Nov. 18 during the Ravens’ 33-30 defeat at M&T Bank Stadium. The kick ricocheted off the upright and collided with the stanchion support post behind the crossbar before bouncing into the end zone. 

Initially, an official signaled that the kick was no good and the Ravens gleefully ran into the locker room to celebrate a win they thought they had claimed.

After referee Phil Morelli asked a replay official if the play was subject for review and was informed that it wasn’t, the call was reversed.

A few minutes later, Dawson hit a 33-yard field goal to put the Ravens away.

"It’s crazy, it’s weird," Ravens wide receiver Derrick Mason said after that game. "They probably made the right call."

NOTES: The NFL passed proposals that: eliminate the 5-yard flag for incidental facemask contact with all facemask penalties now 15 yards; unanimously abolished the forceout rule on receptions and gave teams the freedom to defer to the second half if they win the opening coin toss with that rule passing 30-2. … A proposal for reseeding the playoffs was withdrawn after drawing extremely unpopular reactions from several teams, including Baltimore. "We’ve already had the funeral," said New York Giants owner John Mara, a proponent of the idea. "It went down in flames." Added competition committee co-chairman Rich McKay: "This idea we wanted to push this year to get the discussion going. There were not a lot of hands up, so we withdrew the proposal for now. There is the historical idea that a division champion should have a home game."… Now, any direct snap untouched by the quarterback will be a live ball. In the past, it was treated as a false start with the play whistled dead. … The Ravens’ final preseason game is set for Aug. 28 at home against the Atlanta Falcons. … Former Ravens return specialist B.J. Sams visited the Kansas City Chiefs.

Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times and the Annapolis Capital.
Photo by Sabina Moran

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Aaron Wilson

About Aaron Wilson

Aaron Wilson covers the NFL for National Football Post as well as the Baltimore Ravens for The Carroll County Times and He has previously covered the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans and has covered the NFL since 1997.  He has won several regional writing awards, including, most recently, Best Sports News Story for the state of Maryland in voting conducted by the Associated Press managing editors. 

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