Hidden beneath the overtime rule controversy, a few other rules have been passed. I don't see these rules as "game changers" like the overtime rule. In my opinion, there was no need for an overtime rule. The teams have four quarters to end the game. It's terrible watching the ultra conservative play during those four quarters that cause overtime. The new overtime rule won't change the worsening conservative play calling in the NFL, it will actually make it worse. In the early 2000's (2004 playoffs to be exact), the St. Louis Rams had one of the most explosive offenses in the league. Mike Martz had plenty of time left to score the game winning touchdown against the Carolina Panthers, but instead, opted to settle for the field goal to go to overtime. It was horrible to watch as a NFL fan. This new overtime rule will not change that new 'content' attitude in the NFL. It could actually make it much worse which could make the NFL unwatchable. Coaches weren't scared of the 'unfair' coin flip, and they certainly won't be afraid of going to overtime with the new change.
Here are some of the new rules passed yesterday:
During a field goal or extra point attempt, the defensive team can't position any player on the line directly across from the snapper. Previously, a player needed to have his helmet outside the snapper's shoulder pads.
This rule is pretty silly as I see it having no impact at all. It may suggest blocked kicks will no longer come from attacking the middle, but there will be slanting on the lines that will create a hole every now and then.
A dead ball personal foul on the final play of the second or fourth quarters will cause a 15-yard penalty on the second half or overtime kickoff. Previously in those situations, no penalty was enforced, although players subsequently could be fined by Goodell.
This is one of the new no-brainer rules. Even though it didn't seem to be a problem, it addresses a possible issue in the future. Just imagine a huge fight breaking out at the end of a heated game before going to an overtime period and nothing being done about it. If the overtime rule (old one) caused controversy, this scenario certainly would to.
If a punt returner makes a fair catch signal and muffs the ball, he is entitled to "reasonable opportunity" to catch the muff before it hits the ground without interference of the coverage team. The ball will be rewarded at the spot of the interference, but there will be no penalty yardage marked off.
This rule is intended to keep the punt returner safe from injuries, but it still wouldn't have prevented Dante Wesley, Panthers, from blatantly cheap shotting the Bucs Clifton Smith last year. It's always a terrible idea adding rules that are this subjective, "reasonable opportunity". I'm pretty sure if you talk to ten refs about their interpretation of this, you will get ten different responses.
When a ball strikes a videoboard (as one punt did last preseason at the new Cowboys Stadium), guide wire or sky cam, the play is whistled dead and replayed. The game clock is reset to when that play started.
Another no brainer. Where are all my friends who laughed at me when I told them a ball would never hit the scoreboard last season? *Crickets* Exactly. I'm still owed an avatar of Tony Romo for a month by you guessed it...a Steelers fan. He pulled a Houdini.
The replay judge will be allowed to initiate a review if he believes there was some sort of interference with the ball. This is the only case outside of the final two minutes of the second and fourth quarters and overtime that the booth can order a replay. Coaches can also challenge whether there was interference with the ball.
These two statements do go well together. What if the replay judge doesn't see the ball get interfered with, but the coach does and has to challenge; then it happens again to the other team, but the review judge sees that one? If the coach has to use a challenge on an interfered ball, he should not lose a challenge. For example, a coach lost his first challenge and wins an interfered ball challenge. Regardless of winning the second challenge, he has zero challenges left for the game because a review judge missed the interference. Basically, a coach can get penalized for an incompetent review judge. You would think this would be addressed in this rule change. There has already been instances where reviews were not held in the final two minutes for controversial calls.
If the clock is stopped in the final minute of either half for a replay review, but would not have stopped without the review, officials will run off 10 seconds before resuming play. Either team could take a timeout to void the 10-second runoff.
This is a fair rule change. A wide receiver slides in for a catch with 30 seconds left and a review is held. The team has no time outs left and benefits from this stoppage of play. The call is upheld so they run 10 seconds off. Only fair way to do it. I would like to see someone argue this rule. Although, a deep ball would run more time off the clock.