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NFL says it’s “always a possibility” a surprise rule change could be coming

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The NFL's new proposal for replay review of certain penalties doesn't completely solve the issue the league saw in the NFC Championship.

A year ago the NFL put forward 10 proposed rule changes in the days before the annual ownership meeting in Phoenix. And then, days later, the biggest rule change came out of nowhere.

That rule change was the “lowering the helmet” rule, which passed unanimously even though it hadn’t even been part of the discussion before the meeting. Now the Competition Committee, which recently unveiled this year’s list of proposed rule changes, is saying it’s possible that another surprise change could come when the owners meet next week.

NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent said today that he hopes there are no surprises coming next week, but that when the owners get together and begin discussing ways they think they can improve the league, it’s always possible that they’ll change a rule quickly.

“Last year what happened was we got to meetings, and when membership comes together, we start analyzing, we start talking, there may be something,” Vincent said. “That’s always a possibility. That’s why we take things to the floor, we discuss. Membership always has that ability to put something forward.”

So if there’s another “surprise” rule change next week, no one should be surprised.