NFL owners will consider and vote on a joint proposal from Buffalo and Seattle that would allow replay challenges for any officiating decision, head of officiating Dean Blandino announced Thursday.
“That would include a foul that is called and a foul that was not called,” Blandino said on a conference call. “That is a significant change to our current replay rule, and it is something that will be on the floor and will be debated and voted on next week” at the NFL owners meetings in Phoenix.
Another significant change to the replay rule: The league office would have the final say. The NFL would eliminate referees going under the hood on the sideline. Instead, a tablet would be brought to the referee, who would then consult with the league office.
These changes are several being considered as part of a league-wide push to speed up games. Commissioner Roger Goodell explained the league’s rationale in a letter to fans posted online Wednesday.
“Consistently, we heard from fans that we can improve in two key areas: the flow and pace of the game, and commercialization and the number of unnecessary disruptions to the game on the field,” Goodell wrote.
For the measure to pass, 24 of 32 owners would have to vote yes.
Blandino also said Washington submitted a proposal that would increase the number of replay challenges for coaches.
Other proposed rules changes coming from the competition committee and outlined by Blandino include:
• Making permanent the rule that moved touchbacks on kickoffs to the 25-yard line.
• Making it illegal for defenders to jump over offensive linemen to block a place-kick.
• Expand the defenseless player rule to receivers running routes within five yards of the line of scrimmage.
• Make the automatic ejection rule for two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties permanent.
• For pace of play purposes, the referee would be allowed to make replay announcements during commercial breaks instead of waiting for TV.
• For player safety purposes, reduce overtime to 10 minutes for regular-season and preseason games. Postseason OTs would remain 15 minutes.
• Make all halftimes 13 minutes, 30 seconds. Officials currently provide extra time to enter and exit locker rooms depending on stadium configurations.
• Install a 40-second clock from extra points to kickoffs when there is not a commercial break.