Wednesday, March 23, 2011

2011 NFL Rules Changes

The NFL just approved some new changes for the upcoming season. Whether that would be this year or next remains to be seen, but here are some of them.

1. The Boise Rule. Any changes on the color of the field must meet league approval. In other words, it may be a while before someone in the league goes for the blue turf.

2. Kickoffs. Kickers will be doing their kickoffs at the 35 instead of the 30. However, touchbacks will still remain at the 20-yd line. For teams that rely on their special teams *cough*Bears*cough* for their offense, this makes it more challenging. For a free agent returner like a Brad Smith, the possible windfall for him might not be as large as he hoped.

The two-man wedge still remains legal as a tradeoff for the kickoff alterations to push through. Then again, Billy Cundiff set a NFL record for kickoff touchbacks, so this pretty much makes it more challenging to get return plays. It's disappointing that it had to happen, but apparently, the logic of this is to reduce injuries during these kind of situations.

3. Reviewable scoring plays. Probably as a favor for coaches who seem to bumble in using their red flags, all scoring plays are now going to be reviewed.

4. Dead ball fouls at end of half. For consistency purposes, the half will not be extended if you committed such a penalty. I have no idea what this meant, but this probably is a time-saving method.

The remaining issue is the update on fines regarding hits. Obviously, this being a sensitive matter, there needs to be further fine-tuning with the language, so this has been tabled for future meetings.

*if it actually happens

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