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. 2019 will be no different, if some reports coming out of Indianapolis — where the scouting combine takes place this week — are an indication.
Adapted from a series of tweets by NFL Network’s Judy Battista, the competition committee is looking at the following topics:
Instant replay: How or if to alter reviewable plays following the NFC Championship Game no-call on a pass interference.
Making punts safer: After changes to the kickoff procedure, the punt is seen as the most dangerous play in the game right now.
Helmet rule: Is the league happy with the increased number of non-calls compared to fewer erroneous calls?
Before any of the topics discussed will eventually turn into a rule change, proposals need to get properly and later voted on during the NFL’s owner meetings in late March. However, it appears as if some lively discussions will take place until we get to that point — especially when it comes to the topic of instant replay, triggered by a bad no-call late during the NFC Championship Game between the New Orleans Saints and the Los Angeles Rams.
The New England Patriots would likely support making more plays reviewable: head coach Bill Belichick has advocated for this ever since the 2005 divisional playoff round, when a fumble by the Denver Broncos on an interception return was ruled out of bounds at the 1-yard line instead of being a touchback that would have given the football back to the Patriots. Don’t be surprised if Belichick supports head coach Sean Peyton and the Saints if a proposal ever comes up.