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Pats Pulpit Reacts: Patriots fans critical of NFL’s newest rule changes

The NFL passed several rule changes this month, but the new SB Nation Reacts survey shows Patriots fans are not happy with most of them.

Baltimore Ravens v New England Patriots Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The NFL’s ownership met in Minneapolis last week to talk discuss several issues, including a handful of rule change proposals and possible procedural modifications. Three of those did get the two-thirds majority needed to be implemented, but there was no universal approval among clubs and fans alike.

Those three changes are the addition of a third quarterback bylaw, the introduction of flex scheduling for Thursday Night Football, and a new fair catch rule for kickoffs. The New England Patriots, represented by owner Robert Kraft, voted in favor of flex scheduling and against the fair catch amendment.

Neither of those is particular popular among Patriots fans, though. As a look at the latest results from SB Nation’s Reacts survey shows, only 25 percent support the TNF flex compared to only 9 who are in favor of the new fair catch rule.

What exactly do those rules state, though?

The flex is pretty straight forward. It allows the league to move a select few games — there are five candidates, including the Patriots’ contest against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 14 — from Thursday night to Saturday 1 p.m. ET. Flex scheduling has already been in place for Sunday and Monday night, but will now also include the other prime time slot.

The fair catch rule, meanwhile, states that every kickoff caught fairly within the receiving team’s 25-yard line will automatically be brought out to the 25. The NFL projects that this will lead to returns dropping from 38 to 31 percent, and reduce the number of concussions.

While those two rules were met with considerable criticism, the emergency quarterback bylaw is seen as a positive. The latest Reacts numbers reflect this: 86 percent of Patriots fans approve of that change, which allows teams to keep a third quarterback inactive — if he is on the 53-man squad to begin with — and still insert him into a game in case of injury higher up on the depth chart

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