NFL Rule Changes: Change Onside Kicks, Overtime, Add Sky Ref

  • The Philadelphia Eagles proposed four rule changes during the 2020 NFL offseason.
  • To keep teams in the game, they suggest no more onside kicks but a long 4th down attempt from their own 25-yard line.
  • The Eagles also are looking to bump the overtime clock back up to 15 minutes and change the coin toss rule to start OT.
  • Add a booth umpire and a senior advisor with the referee was proposed by the LA Chargers and Baltimore Ravens.

NEW YORK – With the NFL in the heart of the player and owner collective bargaining agreement negotiations, specific rule changes are also being addressed.

A few teams have proposed changing rules to the NFL with some looking like the potential of accepting the change while others seem rather outlandish.

The Philadelphia Eagles wasted no time making their ideas known, as they proposed four rule changes ranging from blocking penalties to overtime rules.

The first – modifying the blindside block rule – can be taken in an example from last year’s playoffs.

In this penalty, the Bills lost their opportunity to score, as they were kicked out of field goal range for a rather questionable 15-yard penalty. The Eagles simply asked the NFL to consider modifying the rule.

They also suggested that the NFL restore the preseason and regular reason overtime rules where 15 minutes of play would be granted, not 10. Also, they are expecting the coin toss to mean less than it does with the start of the overtime, as many teams who begin with the possession in overtime go on to win the game.

Scoring would also be a slight change, as the Eagles wish to see the new replay rules made permanent. This includes the automatic replay of all scoring plays and turnovers, including those negated by a foul.

Perhaps the largest NFL rule change proposed by the Eagles is their hopes to modify the onside kick rule. As it is known, many onside kick attempts are unsuccessful – unless you are Young Hoe Koo - so the Eagles are hoping for a different strategy.

Instead of kicking to keep possession, the Eagles suggest keeping the offense on the field, beginning a drive at their own 25-yard line. This, however, wouldn’t be given a 1st and 10 but rather a 4th and 15 to give the trailing team an opportunity that could be easier to attack than an onside kick.

This method was seen in the Pro Bowl last season.

The Eagles weren’t the only ones that offered a rule change, as the Miami Dolphins also suggested changing a rule regarding a running clock. When on defense, the Dolphins are hoping that the team can decline an offensive penalty and the result will be a running clock on the referees signal.

This will only occur in the final two minutes of the first half and regulation and should cause some interesting coaching decisions regarding possession vs. time vs. yards.

Finally, the Baltimore Ravens and LA Chargers joined together to submit the final two rules. Looking to add a “sky judge” or “booth umpire” as they call it, an additional referee would be added to the officiating crew, marking the eighth zebra.

They are also proposing that a “Senior Technology Advisor” be added to the referee to assist the officiating crew.

Whether these rules are to be enforced or not in the coming days, it is to be seen; however, this is where the heads of the NFL teams are at.

Before or on April 1, NFL bettors and fans will know just exactly how many (if any) of these rules will be adopted. After discussions and reviews from the competition committee, the rule changes will be announced during the annual league meeting.

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