Rich McKay, Ray Anderson, and Jeff Fisher all answered various questions asked by myself and other credential worthy journalists in an informative conference call. The NFL Competition Committee will be holding its annual league meeting next week in Arizona and many different subjects will come under review. Much of the discussions that will be taking place will consider the health and safety of the players. Issues regarding peel back blocks, leading with the crown of the helmet, and field maintenance will all be voted on in order to try and make the game safer. Along with safety, rules concerning things such as instant replay and the infamous tuck rule will be addressed.
Safety is always a big time issue with the NFL Competition Committee and this year is no different. The league is looking to address a few issues of safety.
The first is the peel back block, which is a play similar to what the Texan’s Brian Cushing was injured on this past year which ended up ending his year early. Players will no longer be able to block low in or outside of the tackle box.
The next rule change affects both the offensive and defensive players. Starting in 2013, any defender or offensive player running with the ball who initiates contact with the crown of their helmet will be penalized 15 yards for doing so. This could be big as now offensive players could be penalized for leading with their heads.
Also concerning safety, the issue that came up in Washington during the playoffs of field maintenance will be addressed this coming season. Organizations will now be held responsible by the NFL for upholding NFL worthy field conditions. This issue may have been what injured both RG3 and Chris Clemons in the playoffs last year. When asked if there were any proposals to change the type of turf in Washington, Rich McKay said “No, there hasn’t been any specific proposals and clubs really are given the option and prerogative to pick their surfaces, so there is no proposal that would require them to change surfaces, this proposal is geared toward making sure everyone understands going forward that the league will take a more active role in making sure that whatever surface is chosen that the standards are vigorously upheld.”
A few different rules will be proposed to try and keep the game as fair as possible. The infamous tuck rule will be eliminated from the rulebooks. If a quarterback is trying to secure the ball and it comes out, it will now be ruled a fumble, as it should have been all along.
The next proposal will be about instant replay. If a coach challenges a play, a timeout will be charged, if the challenge is won, the timeout will be given back. If a timeout is not available, a 15 yard penalty will be assessed and the play is still reviewable. If a challenge is not allowed but a challenge flag is thrown, the timeout will not be given back. Another rule being proposed is a requirement that all players wear thigh and knee pads in an attempt to improve safety.
The NFL Competition Committee is poised to make the game safer and better played this year as many issues will be resolved next week in their annual league meeting.