As the NFL's Owners Meetings wrap up in Orlando, the teams voted on rule proposals presented by the Competition Committee and passed five of them. Here's an overview of what will change next season ...
1. The goal posts will be extended an additional five feet (from 30 to 35) above the cross bar. The reason is that definitive rulings cannot be made on many field goal attempts that cross over the top of the goal post.
2. A safety rule offering protection to players being blocked has been expanded. Blockers can't roll into the back of a player's legs. Now, blockers are not allowed to roll into the back or the side of the legs, as well.
3. Referees can now consult with members of the NFL officiating department in New York during replay reviews. When the referee goes under the hood, command central in New York headed by vice president of officiating Dean Blandino will already be reviewing the play. The NFL believes this will help ensure that every single review is correct and speed up the replay process and timing.
4. The NaVorro Bowman rule passed. The list of plays that can be reviewed has been re-organized. One of the plays that can now be reviewed is the recovery of a loose ball in the field of play. In the NFC Championship Game, Bowman stripped the ball from Seattle wide receiver Jermaine Kearse, but the play was already ruled dead and therefore it could not be reviewed. Now, if the ball is in the field of play and there is a clear recovery then the play can not only be reviewed, but overturned.
5. The clock will no longer stop following a sack. It used to continue to run after a sack except in the final two minutes of a half.
The league will also experiment with longer extra point attempts for two weeks in the preseason. The rule proposal called for the line of scrimmage on extra point kicks to be moved back to the 25-yard line, making it essentially a 37-yard field goal attempt. Two-point conversion attempts will still be snapped from the 2-yard line. The experiment will take place in the first two weeks of the preseason.
The time for the final roster cutdown was adjusted by the league. Each team's final cuts to get to the 53-man roster limit are now due to the league office by 4 PM instead of 6 PM on that day.