The offseason is not just the time for NFL teams to sign and re-sign free agents, scout and subsequently draft college players, it also is the time for the league to readjust the rule book. Numerous proposals are admitted each year either by the 32 clubs or the competition committee and voted on by the league. 2018 will be no different, if some reports from earlier today are any indication.
According to a series of tweets by NFL Network's Judy Battista, the competition committee is looking at the following topics:
Simplifying the catch rule by potentially eliminating “surviving the ground”
Changing defensive pass interference from a spot foul to a 15-yard infraction
Potentially introducing more ejections for fighting
Re-writing the rule that prohibits targeting
Limiting the amount of hand-fighting by throwing more illegal contact flags
Allowing teams to pre-hire coaches while they are still in the playoff race
All of the proposals need to get properly worded before they will be voted on during the NFL's owner meetings in late March. But even at this point in time it becomes clear that the league is willing to tackle some big issues this offseason with the catch and defensive pass interference rules the two most notable ones on the list.
Both have been among the highly debated rules over the past few seasons – just think about the 2017 New England Patriots at Pittsburgh Steelers game – and changing them appears to be a priority for the members of the competition committee. It remains to be seen how the proposed changes will ultimately look like and whether or not they get the majorities needed next month.