In my mind, the most intriguing items on the competition committee’s agenda at next week’s NFL Annual Meeting involve player safety/concussions and overtime changes.
The league continues to study extreme measures to curb head injuries — a movement to limit offseason workloads and mandate some practices without helmets is afoot – and also could adopt several rule changes to that end.
Anohter agenda item is further protecting a “defenseless” ball catcher — an issue that has been a repeated point of emphasis in recent years. Likewise, a measure to better protect long snappers, who are in a vulnerable position after snapping the ball, and a potential rule change that would kill a play should a ball carrier lose his helmet also are on the docket.
The most tangible change, in terms of impacting a game, would come from adapting overtime rules. In this proposal — which would only be in place for the playoffs — the receiving team in overtime could only end a game by scoring a touchdown. Should they kick a field goal, the opposing team could win with a touchdown, or, by responding with a field goal of their own, send the game into a true sudden-death scenario.
It takes 24 of 32 votes to enact a change. Other measures on the table include making permanent a rule enacted last season that would apply a “do over” should a punt strike the mammoth scoreboard that hangs atop Cowboys Stadium, for instance.