Thursday, March 23, 2006

League Rule Changes Under Way.

March 26-30 will be the NFL's Annual meeting, which is held in sunny Orlando, Florida.
This years meeting will focus on several important decisions. First of which is who will replace the retiring Paul Tagliabue.

This is also where the competition Committee meets and makes changes if any to the existing NFL League Rules. The committee is comprised of co-chair of the NFL's competition committee Rich McKay, the committee also includes coach Jeff Fisher of Tennessee, the co-chairman; general managers Ozzie Newsome of Baltimore; Bill Polian of Indianapolis; and executives John Mara of the New York Giants and Mark Richardson of Carolina. Coach Marvin Lewis of Cincinnati is a nonvoting member.

Some of the League changes the committee must decide on are:

Offensive coaches and quarterbacks communicate on the field by the use of a radio headset that is in the quarterbacks helmet. Well now the NFL defenses could be wired this season. The competition committee will propose that teams be permitted to install a radio headset into the helmet of one defensive player. The apparatus would be similar to the ones inside the helmets of quarterbacks and would provide coaches an opportunity to communicate with the defense without using hand signals.

NFL defensive coaches have lobbied the league for the past few years to permit headsets for the helmet of at least one defensive player, must likely a linebacker. Those coaches contended that the offense has an unfair advantage because of the quarterback headsets. The competition committee finally agreed that the issue is worthy of consideration. The defensive coaches also claim that using hand signals as they do, gives the opposing offensive coaches an advantage to identify what defense is being called. Take the Buccaneers for example, 5 coaches from the Buccaneers staff are now head coaches or defensive coordinators in this league. When they play the Buccaneers, do you not think that they know what calls Monte Kiffin is calling. A radio headset in the helmet of Derrick Brooks would eliminate the need for visual hand signals.

According to Rich McKay:

The proposal that will be presented to NFL owners next week would permit
each team to designate one defensive player per game to wear a headset. The
defensive player could be from any position, although the assumption is that
most teams would designate a linebacker.

When the designated player is off the field, the headset cannot be
transferred to another defender. And if the player is injured and forced from
the game, the team would lose the use of the headset. "It basically would end
the communication," McKay said.

Well if you watched any football games this past season, you know what a poor job the officials did this year. It seems the League just made excuses and apologies to teams for getting the calls wrong. However, the NFL states that it is satisfied with the overall officiating in the 05 season
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The NFL has said that it is satisfied with the overall officiating in the 05 season, but did find concern of the errors that affected the playoffs and the Super Bowl.

The NFL will fix a few rules, dealing mostly with player safety, offensive holding and false starts.

According to ESPN's stats, "in 256 games during the past regular season, there were 850 false-start calls. To cut that number, the committee is ready to recommend that minor flinches by wide receivers be ignored if they have no effect on the play." The NFL caters to quarterbacks and now they are starting to cater to wide receivers. Get this, the committee also is considering recommending to officials that they make sure there was holding on a play before throwing a flag. Is this not what they are suppose to be doing in the first place. For the committee to have to restate something that the officials are suppose to be doing in the first place tells me they know there is problems with the way the officiating has been called.

The committee also wants to change the rule on hits by defenders below the knee on quarterbacks, this could be a good call, but once again it protects the quarterbacks.

McKay said

"defensive players will be told they must make an effort to avoid hitting QBs in
the legs to avoid serious injuries, like the hit on Cincinnati's Carson Palmer
against the Steelers in the playoffs. "

The committee would also like to expand the "horse collar tackle rule", where a defensive player can not tackle with his hand inside the shoulder pads of a player running with the ball. As we have seen in the past few years all the knee injuries to running back as they were tackled from behind by their shoulder pads. Well know the league wants to include that to tackles inside the jersey.

Once again up for proposal is to extend the playoffs from 12 to 14 teams. Yep! This was brought to light by the Kansas City Chiefs, after they just missed the playoffs. I don't really care if the NFL goes to 14 teams in the playoffs, it just means more games for us fans to watch.

As with any rules change, the proposal requires a three-quarters vote of the membership or the support of 24 of 32 owners to be approved. So what do you guys think about these possible new rules changes that we might see in the 06 season?

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