The NFL off season churns on, and this week the “power brokers” of the league, the 32 owners, get together in Central Florida with numerous interesting and important topics.
As the owners meetings commence, here are the important topics and news items that will be discussed and potentially acted on:
The “Catch (No catch) Rule” changes:
There is no more maddening topic on the table right now for the league, it’s receivers in specific, and the fans than: “what is a catch in the NFL?”
For over a decade the NFL has added confusion and aggravation to numerous plays involving receivers maintaining the ball going to the ground in huge games. This is because the NFL convoluted their stance for officials years ag: that if they ball moves, much less comes out in the act of going to the ground, a pass will be ruled incomplete.
Well, there has now been so much upheaval from everywhere that the competition committee, the NFLPA, and the officials are now getting on the same page. And the league’s supervisor Al Riveron laid out what the owners will be voting on via social media.
First here are the two classic examples of Cowboys WR Dez Bryant’s catch (that’s what it was) in the 2014 playoffs that was overturned and also, Steelers TE Jessie James’ catch (again, it was a catch) in their game and loss last December with New England.
.@NFL Competition Committee proposal noted in the previous tweet simplifies the catch process & allows for plays such as the @DezBryant (2014 post-season) and @JJames18_ (2017 season) to become catches. pic.twitter.com/K2caIndpGZ
— Al Riveron (@alriveron) March 21, 2018
Riveron then laid out the change that will be presented for the Owners to enact by a 75% vote at these meetings.
A more “catch friendly” version of the policy and clear examples that will help game officials and the replay command center in New York get on the same page quickly with criteria.
After much deliberation & input from coaches, players, @NFLLegends, & club executives, the @NFL Competition Committee will recommend the following language simplifying the catch rule at the Annual Meeting next week. pic.twitter.com/hJwH5YYBRK
— Al Riveron (@alriveron) March 21, 2018
This will likely pass, quickly.
Also, another change in terms of competition that is getting far less conversation is the competition committee wants the owners to discuss and limit the yardage on defensive pass interference.
It’s #6 on this agenda list from NFLPA President (and former Dolphins DB great) Troy Vincent:
The 32 clubs are gathered in Orlando this week for the Annual League Meeting to discuss playing rules, by-laws & resolution proposals from the @NFL Competition Committee & our clubs. Here’s a look what will be discussed: https://t.co/OjE4Fx5AYo pic.twitter.com/mHkFQRc1mD
— Troy Vincent (@TroyVincent23) March 25, 2018
It’s not specific in that tweet, but they want to go back to the older NFL rule that is still used in college and high school, which is: the maximum penalty for defensive pass interference would be 15 yards from the previous spot.
Currently, it’s a designated as “spot foul” on the defense, which could be a 30, 40, or 50+ yard game depending on where the interference occurs. And, if it occurs in the end zone? The ball in the NFL automatically gets placed at the one yard line.
We at F.F.I. like the current rules and policies on defensive pass interference. And we particularly warn, that NFL defensive backs are faster, more talented, and will be able to repeatedly take advantage of fouling a defender way down field and accept the much lesser punishment of only 15 yards to prevent the bigger catch and gain.
Hopefully, that change being suggested by the Jets doesn’t get the 75% vote, but we will see.
Finally, the owners will also be discussing the sale of Carolina Panthers, who’s owner Jerry Richardson, the only one they have had, chose to sell after being wrapped up in a sexual harassment scandal late last season.
There are several groups bidding, and depending on who you believe, names including NASCAR owner and CEO, Brian France, and Charlotte Hornets owner and NBA great Michael Jordan interested/in the mix.
The reported threshold for bids is over $2.2 billion for the Panthers.
We await the latest on these topics and more from Orlando today and this week.
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