NFL clubs approve rules and bylaws changes

(NFL/Twitter photo)

NEW YORK (Heartland Newsfeed) — There are rules and league bylaws changes beginning with the 2020-21 season, following an approval vote by NFL clubs Thursday.

A press release made available by NFL league communications reveals three rules changes and one bylaw change will be in place starting with the upcoming season.

NFL automatic replay review expansion

One of the rules changes was a motion from the Philadelphia Eagles organization. The change involves revising Rule 15, Section 2 to permanently expand automatic replay reviews. Moreover, the change now allows for review on scoring plays and turnovers negated by a foul. Additionally, extra-point attempts will be under review, regardless of whether it was successful or unsuccessful.

According to the text in the rule proposal:

ARTICLE 2. REPLAY OFFICIAL REQUEST FOR REVIEW. Only the Replay Official or the Senior Vice President of Officiating or his or her designee may initiate a review of a play:

(a) that begins after the two-minute warning of each half; (b) throughout any overtime period; (c) when points are scored by either team; (d) that is a successful or unsuccessful Try attempt; and (e) when on-field officials rule:

(1) an interception by an opponent; (2) a fumble or backward pass recovered by an opponent or that goes out of bounds through the opponent’s end zone; (3) a scrimmage kick touched by the receiving team and recovered by the kicking team; or (4) a disqualification of a player.

Such plays may be reviewed regardless of whether a foul is committed on the play that, if accepted, would negate the on-field ruling. The Replay Official may only challenge a play until the next legal snap or kick. The Replay Official may consult with a designated member of the Officiating department at the league office regarding whether to challenge a play.

The Eagles’ reason for this rule change was competitive equity.

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Amendments to defenseless player protection and game clock manipulation

Two rules came from the league’s Competition Committee, regarding defenseless player protection and game clock manipulation.

The defenseless player protection amendment expands such protections to kickoff and punt returners in possession of the ball. The expansion includes the protections as those returners have not had enough time to avoid or ward off impending contact with opponents. The committee’s reason for the change was for continued expansion of player safety, as a result.

The latter rule change now prohibits teams from manipulating the game clock. Moreover, the change is directed as teams committing multiple dead-ball fouls while the clock is still running. The committee’s reason for the change was for the conservation of playing time.

Designation for return expanded

The change from the league office expands the number of players eligible for a designation to return with the intent to return to action. Currently, the previous rule sets the maximum at two players per team. As a result, the maximum will now be three players per team. Additionally, the league’s primary reasoning for the change calls for greater roster availability.

Approved 2020 Playing Rules and Bylaws

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Jake Leonard, a broadcast media and journalism veteran, is the editor-in-chief of Heartland Newsfeed. Leonard is also GM and program director of Heartland Newsfeed Radio Network and a contributing writer for My Sports Vote, Ambush Sports and Midwest Sports Network. He resides at home in Nokomis, Ill. with his dogs Sparky and Buster.

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