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Bill Belichick’s plan to make all plays reviewable is gaining support

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One of this year’s rule change proposals is tackling the topic.

NFL: Washington Redskins at New England Patriots Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

For years, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was pushing for the NFL to make every single play reviewable. And for years, the league’s best head coach’s attempts to initiate a rule change failed — to a point where the Patriots simply stopped submitting the seemingly hopeless proposal. Now, however, it seems as if the idea is gaining at least some traction: this offseason, it will be up for debate once again.

The reason behind it is a recent rule change proposed by the Washington Redskins, tackling exactly the topic Belichick first brought up in 2006. The proposal reads as follows:

9. By Washington; to amend Rule 15, Section 2 to subject all plays that occur during a game to coaches’ challenge by teams or review by the Officiating department in the instant replay system.

Basically speaking, the proposal would allow teams that are still in possession of timeouts to challenge calls or non-calls made on the field. Had a rule like this been in place, it would have allowed the New Orleans Saints to initiate a review of the infamous pass interference no-call that happened late during the 2018 NFC Championship Game and ultimately helped the Los Angeles Rams come away victoriously.

But while the Saints and Patriots are among the likely supporters of Washington’s proposal, it is hard to see it get enough momentum to finish with the necessary 24 of 32 votes during league meetings. After all, the Patriots tried to get this rule passed for years before ultimately accepting the fact that the attempt was a futile one. And while the NFC title game might change the urgency of the matter, it probably won’t change the vote’s outcome.

That all being said, Bill Belichick probably still likes to see his old proposal generate some momentum across the league. Whether or not this will result in a rule change or modification remains to be seen, as the league’s ownership will vote on the matter both next week and potentially also during spring meetings in late May.

All in all sixteen potential rule changes were proposed — none of which by the Patriots — and will be voted on:

1. By Competition Committee; to amend Rule 6 to make permanent the kickoff rule changes that were implemented during the 2018 season.

2. By Competition Committee; to amend Rule 12 to expand protection to a defenseless player.

3. By Competition Committee; to amend Rule 14, Section 5, Article 2 to change the enforcement of double fouls when there is a change of possession.

4. By Competition Committee; to amend Rule 11, Section 4, Article 2 to simplify the application of scrimmage kick rules for missed field goals.

5. By Competition Committee; to amend Rule 14, Section 2, Article 3 to allow teams to elect to enforce on the succeeding try or on the succeeding free kick an opponent’s personal or unsportsmanlike conduct foul committed during a touchdown.

6. By Competition Committee; to amend Rule 15, Section 2 for one year only to expand the reviewable plays in instant replay to include fouls for pass interference; also expands automatic replay reviews to include scoring plays and turnovers negated by a foul, and any Try attempt (extra point or two-point conversion).

6a. By Competition Committee; to amend Rule 15, Section 2 for one year only to expand the reviewable plays in instant replay to include all fouls for pass interference, roughing the passer, and unnecessary contact against a player who is in a defenseless posture; also expands automatic replay reviews to include scoring plays and turnovers negated by a foul, and any Try attempt (extra point or two-point conversion).

7. By Kansas City; to amend Rule 16 to (1) allow both teams the opportunity to possess the ball at least one time in overtime, even if the first team to possess the ball in overtime scores a touchdown; (2) eliminate overtime for preseason; and (3) eliminate overtime coin toss so that winner of initial coin toss to begin game may choose whether to kick or receive, or which goal to defend.

8. By Denver; to amend Rule 6, Section 1, Article 1 to provide an alternative to the onside kick that would allow a team who is trailing in the game an opportunity to maintain possession of the ball after scoring

9. By Washington; to amend Rule 15, Section 2 to subject all plays that occur during a game to coaches’ challenge by teams or review by the Officiating department in the instant replay system.

10. By Washington; to amend Rule 15, Section 2, Article 5 to add review of personal fouls as reviewable plays in the instant replay system.

11. By Kansas City; to amend Rule 15, Section 2, to add review of personal fouls (called or not called on the field) as plays subject to coaches’ challenge in the instant replay system.

12. By Carolina, Los Angeles Rams, Philadelphia, and Seattle; to amend Rule 15, Section 2, to add review of designated player safety-related fouls (called or not called on the field) as plays subject to coaches’ challenge in the instant replay system.

13. By Philadelphia; to amend Rule 15, Section 2, to add scoring plays and turnovers negated by a foul to be subject to automatic review in the instant replay system.

14. By Denver; to amend Rule 15, Section 2, to add all fourth down plays that are spotted short of the line to gain or goal line to be subject to automatic review in the instant replay system.

15. By Denver; to amend Rule 15, Section 2, to add all Try attempts (Extra point or Twopoint conversion) to be subject to automatic review in the instant replay system.

16. By Competition Committee; to amend Rule 15, Section 1, Article 5 to allow League personnel to disqualify for both flagrant football and non-football acts.