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NFL approves several rule changes at owners meetings

The disallowance of leaping over the huddle on kick attempts and (hopefully) a better replay system are among the changes made to the NFL this week.

NFL: Super Bowl LI-Houston Host Committee Handoff Ceremeony Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL has approved several proposed rule changes at the NFL Owners Meetings in Phoenix.

The meetings, which take place from Monday-Wednesday, were expected to produce several alterations to various rules, and most of the proposed changes were approved. That includes a new rule that now prohibits the “leaper” block attempt on field goal and extra point plays.

Prior to this rule change, players were able to leap over the long-snapper on PATs and field goals, but this is now banned. A big reason why is to protect the long-snapper, who could have a leaper land on the back of his legs if the jump comes up short. Now the snapper won’t have to worry about having a 300-ish-pound man land on the back of his legs as he’s snapping the ball.

But perhaps the biggest change made this week was replacing the sideline replay monitor with a handheld device, as well as authorizing designated members of the officiating department to make the final decision on replay reviews from New York City.

This will hopefully speed up the replay process and help prevent the long delays that often occur when referees review plays on the field. Now, those decisions will be made by Dean Blandino, NFL Senior Vice President of Officiating, and his crew.

This change also removes the replay booth from the sideline and has the referee use a tablet on the sideline during the replay.

Here is a recap of all the rule changes that were passed:

Approved 2017 Playing Rules Proposals

  • ​​By Philadelphia; Prohibits the “leaper” block attempt on field goal and extra point plays.
  • By Competition Committee; Makes permanent the rule that disqualifies a player who is penalized twice in one game for certain types of unsportsmanlike conduct fouls.
  • By Competition Committee; Changes the spot of the next snap after a touchback resulting from a free kick to the 25-yard line for one year only.
  • By Competition Committee; Gives a receiver running a pass route defenseless player protection.
  • By Competition Committee; Makes crackback blocks prohibited by a backfield player who is in motion, even if he is not more than two yards outside the tackle when the ball is snapped.
  • By Competition Committee; Replaces the sideline replay monitor with a hand-held device and authorizes designated members of the Officiating department to make the final decision on replay reviews.
  • By Competition Committee; Makes it Unsportsmanlike Conduct to commit multiple fouls during the same down designed to manipulate the game clock.
  • By Competition Committee; Makes actions to conserve time illegal after the two-minute warning of either half.

Approved 2017 Bylaw Proposals

  • By Competition Committee; Liberalizes rules for timing, testing, and administering physical examinations to draft-eligible players at a club’s facility for one year only.
  • By Competition Committee; Changes the procedures for returning a player on Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform or Reserve/Non-Football Injury or Illness to the Active List to be similar to those for returning a player that was Designated for Return.
  • By Competition Committee; The League office will transmit a Personnel Notice to clubs on Sundays during training camp and preseason.

Approved 2017 Resolution Proposal

  • By Competition Committee: Permits a contract or non-contract non-football employee to interview with and be hired by another club during the playing season, provided the employer club has consented.