NFL owners pass 2 more rules changes before meetings end

As a busy NFL meetings neared its conclusion Wednesday, team owners passed two more rules changes and approved several procedural bylaw alterations. Most noteworthy, the league eliminated the requirement that a team that scores a winning touchdown at the end of regulation kick the extra point or go for a 2-point conversion. In a January playoff game that Minnesota memorably won on a final pass play, New Orleans players were required to return to the field after leaving for a meaningless extra point.

The Vikings took a knee. Of course, bettors and fantasy players could have a stake in the PAT, but neither participating team did, particularly now that points scored or points differential is so low in any tiebreaking procedures.

Some of the players said they might be scared to wear their rings. Reddick was not among them.

They are magnificent, he said. They are beautiful. I think I might sleep in mine tonight.

If strictly applied by NFL officials, it could have a sweeping effect on the game. Lowering one’s helmet is an instinct that may be difficult to legislate out of the sport overnight. The result could be many more penalty flags and automatic first downs.

The crown of the helmet rule got way too narrow, Falcons president and competition committee chairman Rich McKay said Tuesday. This has very little requirement to it. This is simply, if you lower your head to initiate contact and you make contact with an opponent, it’s a foul.

Between March and May, the NFL will hear from coaches about the rule and decide whether or not automatic ejections and/or official reviews are added as well.

But if every instance of a player lowering their helmet to initiate contact — helmet-to-helmet or otherwise — results in a penalty, it’d be a huge change to the entire sport. Imagine if every quarterback sneak was suddenly an offensive penalty.
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