If there is an element that I really appreciate about sports, in general, is how teams and coaches are always trying to come up with creative plays and new strategies. It is an essential task if you want to stay competitive, especially in football, where the NFL is constantly changing and reinventing the game.
This upcoming season is no different. Individual teams and the competition committee proposed at least 18 new rules. These were discussed at the NFL’s annual owner’s meetings in Boca Ratón, Florida this week. As a result, nine new rules were approved and will be effective next Thursday, Sept. 8 with the NFL Kickoff 2016 Weekend.
Among the most notable changes are the banning of all chop blocks and the new touchback rule, which is already generating all kinds of comments. The rule was designed to thwart as many kickoff returns as possible, but the NFL has no idea if the strategy is going to work. In fact, some are already suggesting that the rule might backfire as teams may now go for a loftier kick down to the goal line and allow their coverage team to stop the returner from getting to the 25. As for the chop blocks banning, it is intended to ensure player’s safety. It is a highly dangerous move that can often result in terrible injury to a player’s legs.
NFL Rule Changes For 2016:
- Permanently moves the line of scrimmage for Try kicks to the defensive team’s 15-yard line, and allows the defense to return any missed Try.
- Permits the offensive and defensive play callers on the coaching staffs to use the coach-to-player communication system regardless of whether they are on the field or in the coaches’ booth.
- Makes all chop blocks illegal.
- Expands the horse collar rule to include when a defender grabs the jersey at the name plate or above and pulls a runner toward the ground.
- Disqualifies a player who is penalized twice in one game for specific types of unsportsmanlike conduct fouls. Amended to one-year only.
- Changes the spot of the next snap after a touchback resulting from a free kick to the 25-yard line. Amended to one-year only.
- Makes it a foul for delay of game when a team attempts to call a timeout when it is not permitted to do so.
- Eliminates the five-yard penalty for an eligible receiver illegally touching a forward pass after being out-of -bounds and re-establishing himself inbounds, and makes it a loss of down.
- Eliminates multiple spots of enforcement for a double foul after a change of possession.
All of the rule changes approved were proposed by the competition committee. On the contrary, all suggestions made by individual teams such as Washington’s proposal to eliminate overtimes during preseason games, were rejected.