With the NFL owner’s meetings taking place this week, one of the major topics of concern are the proposed rule changes. I’ll delve into some of those shortly. There have already reportedly been three rule changes that have been approved to take effect immediately starting in 2014.
The first has to do with the process of instant replay. NFL owners voted to allow referees to communicate with the officiating command center in New York during on-field reviews. Previously, referees were afforded several angles of a play under review and then had to make a final ruling.
Now, the command center in New York will closely monitor and begin reviewing potential reviewable plays right away.
When the official contacts them, they will likely have already viewed the play and can help guide to the correct ruling. The final call is still the referee’s to make, but the command center will ensure that all aspects of the review and play are correctly assessed.
The next is the elimination of a “roll up block” to the side of a player’s leg. This was a modification of a previous rule that banned roll up blocks from behind. The biggest beneficiaries of this rule are likely to be defensive players. Many knee injuries had occurred to players who couldn’t see such a block coming. After many rule changes that have seemingly favored the offense, the defense scores one here.
The last is the elimination of the “slam dunk” touchdown celebration. While the exact reasoning for the rule change hasn’t been explained, it would likely be due to the few instances where the contact with the goal posts caused them to become altered or uneven. The process to correct this is a quick one, but I think we can all live with a little added protection to the integrity of something that affects a score.
The most famous user of this touchdown celebration ironically may have just played his last down this past season: Tony Gonzalez. When told about the rule change, Gonzalez tweeted that he is glad he got out when he did. Another tight end who will be coming up with a new scoring celebration is Jimmy Graham. Graham is currently negotiating with the New Orleans Saints on a long-term contract.