The NFL owners have voted two major rule changes for the 2012 season. Let’s examine them and their impact.
The first rule is a carry-over from the 2011 playoffs. The overtime rule from instituted in the playoffs and showcased in the Denver – Pittsburgh playoff match will now be used throughout the regular season as well. A fairly complicated rule in itself. In overtime, on the initial possession, if the offense scores a field goal, the opposing team will be able to receive the ball and attempt to match or beat the now-winning team. If they do not, game over. If either team scores a touchdown, its game over.
The second and maybe more controversial rule. All turnovers will be automatically reviewed. The controversial part of this is two-fold. First, what does this do to the pace of the game? In a different decision, the NFL decided against having all replays done by the replay official in the booth. Should this rule have passed, the pace of the game may not have been changed. But, sadly, it did not. Will we have 4 hour games now? Who knows.
The other troubling part of this rule is that plays are only challenged automatically in one direction. By that I mean should the defense recover a fumble, the ruling is automatically reviewed. If a fumble occurs and the referees award possession back to the offense, no review. Sure you can burn a red flag. But who wants to do that. This is, indeed, again sadly consistent with the touchdown ruling.
Finally, the NFL rejected two smaller measures. One proposal to make horse-collar tackles legal on a QB in the pocket failed. Another would have moved the trade deadline date.
Stay tuned to this site for news as it happens.