Four of seven rules changes proposed by NFL teams that will be considered at the league meetings later this month come from the Eagles -- and in a shocker, not one of them has anything to do with a defensive player driving the crown of his helmet into the back of a quarterback’s head as the QB is falling forward.
That, of course, was a reference to the Jadeveon Clowney play that took Carson Wentz out of the Eagles’ wild-card playoff loss to Seattle in the first quarter. Often, NFL rules proposals emanate from such situations (as with New Orleans and pass-interference review).
Nothing the Eagles put forward seems designed to right a wrong from a game they lost last season. They want to do the following:
In addition, the Miami Dolphins are proposing that the defense be allowed to ask the game clock start on the referee’s signal if the defense declines a penalty late in either half. And the Ravens and Chargers are renewing the push for a “sky judge” in the booth as part of each officiating crew. Those teams also would like a senior technology adviser added to each crew.
These summaries of the proposed changes lack detail and raise a lot of questions, even beyond “Who the heck wants 15-minute preseason overtimes?" For example, what exactly does “implement rules to minimize the impact of the overtime coin toss” mean? Does that mean the team that loses the toss gets the ball even if the winner of the toss scores a touchdown on the opening possession?
The big attention-getter from the Eagles is the onside-kick modification, something that has been kicked around since the league decided two years ago that the kicking team players have to wait for the ball to be addressed to start moving. That rule change dramatically lowered onside-kick recovery numbers.
The NFL outlawed most blindside blocks last year, but implementation was a ragged mess. Fouls were called sometimes whenever the block came against the flow of the play, even if the blocked player was looking right at the blocker. Sometimes you could get called for it if the flow of the play shifted and a potential tackler turned and ran into you as he pursued.
The sky judge was a proposal last year that didn’t go through. It regained momentum when the officiating brass in New York pretty much decided not to overturn pass-interference calls or flag interference on review, regardless, through much of last season. That problem lessened down the stretch.