At the end of March, the annual NFL Owners’ meetings wrapped up in Tampa Bay, Florida. One of the more pressing issues of these meetings were the eight proposed rule changes that the owners voted on. Of the eight, seven were actually accepted and put into place for the upcoming season. The following are the seven new rules that NFL games will feature in the 2016-17 season.
- The line of scrimmage on extra points has permanently been moved to the 15-yard line. Additionally, the defending team can return and missed attempt.
- We saw this rule make a trial run last year, but now the line of scrimmage change is permanent.
- Offensive and defensive play callers are allowed to use the coach-to-player communication system regardless of their location on the field or coach’s booth.
- Nothing too pressing here, won’t affect gameplay too much.
- All chop blocks are now illegal.
- Finally, should see fewer ACL injuries and knees and ankles getting rolled.
- The horse collar rule is expanded to include a defender grabbing a player’s jersey at the nameplate or above and pulling the ballcarrier to the ground.
- When a team calls a timeout when they don’t have one it is now a delay of game penalty.
- It is no longer a 5-yard penalty for an eligible receiver to illegally touch a forward pass after being out of bounds and re-establishing himself inbounds. It is now a loss of down instead.
- There can no longer be multiple spots of enforcement for a double foul after a change of possession.
There shouldn’t be too much of a noticeable difference with these new rule changes other than an increase in player safety and improved communication between coaches and players. The committee is still discussing whether a player should automatically be ejected after two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. All in all, the rule changes improve the game, and the fans won’t really feel an impact whatsoever.