Each March the 32 owners of the National Football League meet for their annual meeting on various matters.
Earlier this week the owners voted to allow the Oakland Raiders to relocate in Las Vegas.
Other items of business are various rule changes…
Following the example of Major League Baseball, the NFL owners have decided in a unanimous decision to move replays to a central location instead of the onfield officials making the decisions.
Beginning with the 2017 professional football season, all replay decisions will be made by a three person panel at the League office in New York City will make the determinations on replay calls. Instead of “going under the hood”, the referee will have a tablet brought out to him for the decision.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has pushed for a way to streamline the replay decisions and help with the speed of the game.
In another unanimous decision, the owners have taken away another aspect of the game…the defensive leap. Defensive players will no longer be allowed to leap to block extra points and field goals. While the move does require some extraordinary athletic ability, owners see the leap as dangerous. Only three such plays were blocked last season.
In recent seasons the NFL has put an emphasis on protecting players who have been hit in the head. Officials have had the ability to eject any player who has made a deliberate hit to the head. This season the League is asking for the officials to be more proactive when it comes to penalties of hits to the head. Such a play is not subject to a review but the guilty player will be suspended for performing such dangerous actions.
Rule changes tabled for later consideration are shortening over time from 15 to 10 minutes and in a surprise move, Commissioner Goodell is considering easing up on the dumbest rule in football and letting players celebrate on touchdowns and other such plays.
photo courtesy of By Washington Redskins Football, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=34640730
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