BOCA RATON, Fla. -- There are 19 proposed rules changes on which team representatives will vote this week during the NFL owners meetings.
But here’s the catch: None has to do with clarifying the confusing definition of what actually constitutes a legal pass reception.
“In the rule, basically in the easiest way I could describe it is control, plus two feet, plus time,” vice president of officiating Dean Blandino said on Monday. “And I think we can all agree for the most part the first two elements: control and two feet. Once we get there, I think that’s when we get into this gray area of time.”
The third element of a catch, time, has been in the rulebook since 1938, Blandino pointed out. It was further clarified in 1942.
“So this is not a new rule, this is not a new concept,” Blandino said. “But how we look at the play has changed, technology has changed and so slow motion replay and high definition allows us to see things that we weren’t able to see previously.”
Blandino reaffirmed that if a player goes to the ground in the process of making a catch, he must control the ball after landing on the ground.
Blandino said the NFL brought in two groups to discuss the rule for a legal catch. The groups included former wide receivers Cris Carter, Tim Brown, Randy Moss, Steve Largent, current player Jordy Nelson, as well as former executive Bill Polian, and former head coaches Jim Schwartz and Ken Whisenhunt.
“The committee is not recommending a change to the rule; there won’t be a tweak to the language,” Blandino said.
The most notable rule that is under consideration this week is an automatic player ejection for two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. After averaging 46 unsportsmanlike-conduct penalties the past 10 years, the NFL saw a spike to 75 last season.
“We really started with the whole personal-foul rule and looked at that, and I think we all felt more comfortable with just isolating it to certain situations that involve unsportsmanlike conduct.,” Blandino said. “So it will really be the things that are directed at an opponent, whether they occur during the play or after the play.”
Here are the playing rules proposals for the 2016 season:
--Permanently moves the line of scrimmage for extra-point kicks to the defensive team’s 15-yard line, and allows the defense to return any missed try. (Competition Committee)
--Permits the offensive and defensive playcallers on the coaching staffs to use the coach-to-player communication system regardless of whether they are on the field or in the coaches’ booth. (Competition Committee)
--Makes all chop blocks illegal. (Competition Committee)
--Disqualifies a player who is penalized twice in one game for certain types of unsportsmanlike conduct fouls. (Competition Committee)
--Changes the spot of the next snap after a touchback resulting from a free kick to the 25-yard line. (Competition Committee)
--To amend Rule 5, Sections 3, Articles 1 and 2 (Changes in Position) to require players to wear jersey vests with numbers appropriate for their positions. (Baltimore)
--To amend Rule 15, Section 2, Articles 1, 4, and 5 (Instant Replay) to provide each team with three challenges and expand reviewable plays. (Baltimore)
--To amend Rule 15, Section 2, Articles 1, 4, and 5 (Instant Replay) to permit a coach to challenge any official's decision except scoring plays and turnovers. (Buffalo)
--To amend Rule 8, Section 2, Article 1 (Intentional Grounding) to expand the definition of intentional grounding. (Carolina)
--To amend Rule 14, Section 2, Article 1 (Half-distance Penalty) to add penalty yards to the distance needed to gain a First Down. (Kansas City)
--To amend Rule 8, Section 1, Article 2 (Legal Forward Pass) to prohibit quarterbacks from falling to the ground, getting up, and throwing a forward pass. (Kansas City)
--To amend Rule 15, Section 2, Article 1 (Coaches' Challenge) to eliminate the requirement that a team be successful on each of its first two Instant Replay challenges in order to be awarded a third challenge. (Minnesota)
--To amend Rule 16, Section 1, Articles 1, 4, 6 and 7 (Overtime procedures) to eliminate overtime periods in preseason games. (Washington)
--To amend Rule 15, Section 2, Article 4 (Reviewable Plays) to subject personal foul penalties to Instant Replay review. (Washington)
--To amend Rule 15, Section 2, Article 1 (Coaches' Challenge) to eliminate the requirement that a team be successful on each of its first two Instant Replay challenges in order to be awarded a third challenge. (Washington)
--Expands the horse collar rule to include when a defender grabs the jersey at the name plate or above and pulls a runner toward the ground. (Competition Committee)
--Makes it a foul for delay of game when a team attempts to call a timeout when it is not permitted to do so. (Competition Committee)
--Eliminates the five-yard penalty for an eligible receiver illegally touching a forward pass after being out of bounds and re-establishing himself inbounds, and makes it a loss of down. (Competition Committee)
--Eliminates multiple spots of enforcement for a double foul after a change of possession. (Competition Committee)