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NFL's Competition Committee Proposing New Changes

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Feb 24, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis speaks at a press conference during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE
Feb 24, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis speaks at a press conference during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

There have been quite a few radical changes to the NFL's modus operandi in his short tenure. From the NFL Draft's television schedule, to moving the Pro Bowl's destination and kickoff date to playoff overtime rules, he's left his thumbprint on the League so far. Today, the League's Competition Committee proposed quite a few new changes for the league in time for next season.

In order for each of the proposed changes to take place, they will need to be passed with a majority vote, or at least 24 of the 32 total NFL owners. Let's review some of the proposed changes.

First, the rules of instant replay could be tweaked once again. The first caveat to the changes would be to add an automatic review of all turnovers--both fumbles and interceptions--much like they instituted last year with all touchdowns. This would not require a team to use a challenge or replay on a play ruled a turnover on the field, though those plays not deemed a turnover on the field would require a challenge. Thesecond caveat comes thanks to a proposal made by the Buffalo Bills. It basically states that all replays should be made upstairs in the booth, for the sake of time and avoiding any biased opinions on a call made by a referee who is also doing the review. So, while reviewing every turnover could add time to a game, calls being made in the booth could conserve it.

Secondly, there are a number of actual in-game ideas being proposed to be voted on. Per, here are some of the highlighted proposals:

1. Modifying the horse-collar tackle rule to remove the exception for quarterbacks in the pocket, so that a quarterback in the pocket may not be yanked down by the back of his shoulder pads or inside collar of his jersey.

2. Changing overtime so that the postseason rule will be used in the regular season as well, and no regular-season games will be ended on a field goal on the first possession of overtime.

3. Adding a loss of down to the penalty for kicking a loose ball, as is the case in college football.

4. Adopting the college rule for too many men on the field, which is a dead-ball foul if a team lines up on offense for more than three seconds, or if a team on defense lines up with too many men and the snap is imminent. In those cases, the officials will blow the play dead and assess a five-yard penalty. This change wouldn’t affect the rulings on players running off the field who don’t get off in time.

5. Expanding the defenseless player rule to protect defensive players on crackback blocks, making it illegal to hit them in the head or neck area.

6. Automatically reviewing turnovers via instant replay, just as scoring plays are automatically reviewed.

Thirdly, there are some other operating by-laws that are on the table to be discussed. Some of these include: pushing back the trade deadline two weeks from Week Six to Week Eight of the regular season, an expansion of the offseason and Training Camp roster from 80 to 90 players and other roster exemptions for players suffering from concussions and for teams playing on holidays.

Lastly, the Competition Committee is proposing more changes in favor of furthering the protection of quarterbacks. There was initial discussion that would allow quarterbacks certain instances of intentional grounding while still in the pocket, but that was scrapped. One idea that is tabled for discussion is having quarterbacks basically be "off-limits" during a turnover in an attempt to avoid a major unnecessary hit. The exception to this would be if they are actually involved in a tackle. There will also be an extensive discussion on the horse-collar rule on quarterbacks in the pocket.

I have to give major credit to the folks at for laying all of this out to relay to you. Now, discuss amongst yourselves on how you feel about these proposed changes.