The NFL's Annual League Meeting will get kicked off this Sunday in Phoenix, Arizona, and it'll go through March 29. While there could be some player deals discussed, and it's likely the possible sale of the Washington Commanders could be touched on, it's also expected that commissioner Roger Goodell will receive a contract extension. But also on the agenda will be a vote on the new 2023 playing rules, bylaws, and resolutions proposed by the league's competition committee and NFL clubs.
In total, 17 playing rules proposals, five bylaw proposals, and four resolution proposals made the cut, and you can read all about them in detail here. Here's the general list of proposals to peruse, along with some of my thoughts.
2023 Playing Rule Proposals Summary
1. By Philadelphia; amends Rule 5, Section 1, Article 2, to permit the use of zero (“0”) as a jersey numeral; to allow kickers and punters to use any jersey numeral between 0-49 and 90-99.
2. By Philadelphia; amends Rule 6, Section 1, to permit a team to maintain possession of the ball after a score by substituting one offensive play (4th and 20 from the kicking team’s 20-yard line) for an onside kickoff attempt.
3. By Los Angeles Chargers; amends Rule 4, Section 6, Article 3 and Section 7, Article 4, to make the adjustment of the play clock following an Instant Replay reversal consistent with other timing rules.
4. By Detroit; amends Rule 15, Section 3, Article 9, to expand the coaches’ challenge system to include personal fouls called on the field.
5. By Detroit; amends Rule 15, Section 1, to provide clubs more opportunities for a third challenge.
6. By Detroit; amends Rule 15, Section 3, to expand the Replay Official’s jurisdiction to allow for consultation regarding penalty assessment.
7. By Houston; amends Rule 15, Section 1, Article 2, to expand the Replay Official’s jurisdiction to allow for review on failed fourth down attempts.
8. By Los Angeles Rams; amends Rule 15, Section 1 and Section 3, to make fouls for Roughing the Passer called on the field subject to replay assist and/or review by a coach’s challenge.
9. By New York Jets; amends Rule 12, Section 2, Article 6, to expand the trackback prohibition to players who go in motion and go beyond the center to block (“split-flow block”) a defender below the waist.
10. By Competition Committee; to change the definition of a launch to leaving one or both feet.
11. By Competition Committee; to make the penalty for tripping a personal foul.
12. By Competition Committee; to make the penalty for illegally handing the ball forward consistent with other illegal acts, such as illegal forward passes.
13. By Competition Committee; to make the penalty for illegal punts, drop kicks, or placekicks consistent with other illegal acts, such as illegal forward passes.
14. By Competition Committee; to put the ball in play at the receiving team’s 25-yard line when a touchback occurs from a punt.
15. By Competition Committee; to prevent the offense from benefitting by an extension of the half as a result of their foul.
16. By Competition Committee; to put the ball in play at the receiving team’s 25-yard line if there is a fair catch on a free kick (kickoff and safety kick) behind the receiving team’s 25-yard line.
17. By Competition Committee; to clarify use of the helmet against an opponent by removing the “butt, ram, spear” language from Article 8 and incorporating those actions into Impermissible Use of the Helmet.
Scrapping the onside kick for a 4th and 20 play would bring some excitement to the end of games, but I'd be surprised to see the NFL adopt an XFL-style rule this year.
Adding more things to review to the current instant replay system could extend games even longer, but the more they do it, the more they'll eventually streamline things.
Any help the refs can get in determining roughing the passer is a good thing.
I like the idea of a third coach's challenge being awarded.
Do any of those rules catch your eye?
2023 Bylaw Proposals Summary
1. By Detroit; amends Article XVII, Section 17.3, to allow a club to designate an emergency third quarterback from its Inactive List or Practice Squad who would be eligible to enter a game in the event the first two quarterbacks on the game day Active List are ruled “Out.”
2. By Los Angeles Chargers; amends Article XX, Section 20.2, and Article XXI, Section 21.4, to seed Wild Card teams higher than Division Championships in the playoffs if (i) the Division Champions have won-loss-tied percentages lower than .500, and (ii) the Wild Card teams have four or more wins than the Division Champions with losing records.
3. By Competition Committee; to change the claiming period to Monday for players who are waived on the Friday and Saturday of the last week of the regular season.
4. By Competition Committee; to insert Strength of Victory as the second tiebreaker for awarding contracts.
5. By Competition Committee; to adjust the rules for postseason signings to account for standard elevations rule; to freeze postseason rosters at 4:00 PM New York Time on the Wednesday following the last week of the regular season.
The third quarterback rule makes a lot of sense, and there was a variation of it years ago.
I'm not sure how I feel about the playoff seedings. I get wanting to reward teams with a better record, but winning your division should matter for something.
Do any of these five proposals do anything for you?
2023 Resolution Proposals Summary
G-2. By Buffalo; to make the regular season and postseason roster transaction deadlines the same; changes the transaction deadline for Saturday night postseason games to 4:00 p.m., New York time on Saturday.
G-3. By Los Angeles Chargers; to provide greater clarity as to a player’s availability for a game.
G-4. By New Orleans, Atlanta, Baltimore, Buffalo, Carolina, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Green Bay, Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles Chargers, Los Angeles Rams, Minnesota, New York Jets, Philadelphia, Seattle, Tampa Bay, Tennessee, Washington; to establish one preseason roster reduction date and related procedures.
G-6. By Philadelphia; to require game clocks to display tenths of seconds for the final 30 seconds of each half.
The Chicago Bears are finally involved in a proposal, and G-4 seems like a no-brainer. Having teams go from their 90-man offseason roster down to a 53-man roster following the final preseason game seems beneficial to the players. Teams don't always play their number ones much in preseason anyway, so giving them more bodies to get out there in weeks two and three offers more flexibility and provides opportunities for fringe players to showcase their abilities.