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NFL Owners Meeting Concludes, Several Rules Changes Adopted

The annual NFL Owner's Meetings concluded today, with the announcement that several proposed rules changes would be adopted for the 2008 season.  The rules affected are as follows --

 Among the proposals that were passed:

  • A recommendation to eliminate force-out decisions on pass completions near the sidelines was approved. Now, officials will only have to decide whether a receiver landed in bounds or not. The intended result is more consistency.
  • The "Phil Dawson field goal rule" change passed. Now, certain field goals can be reviewed by instant replay, including kicks that bounce off the uprights. Under the previous system, no field goals could be replayed.
  • Coaches can now defer a decision on the opening coin toss. This is similar to the college rule. Previously, the winner of the coin toss could only choose to receive or kick off.
  • A direct snap from center that goes backward will now be treated as a fumble. Previously, it was ruled a false start.
  • The 5-yard face mask penalty was eliminated. Now, only the serious face mask will be called (and will be assessed as a 15-yard penalty). The major foul will involve twisting or grabbing the face mask.
On Tuesday, the League voted to adopt a rule allowing a communications device in the helmet of one defensive player.

Two of the bigger proposed rules changes were tabled until a later meeting, possibly May.  Those issues included the Kansas City Chiefs' proposal to prohibit hair hanging over the back of jerseys to the nameplate, as well as a proposal to change playoff seeding based on record.  In the proposed scenario, a wild card team could host a playoff game if they had a better record than a division champion(see Jacksonville/Pittsburgh this past season).  The Broncos were adamantly opposed to the idea.