Recapping the 2014 NFL rule changes

The NFL Annual Meeting wrapped up Wednesday in Orlando, Fla., with some rules intact, such as the extra point, while others were added or put aside for further discussions.

Mar 26, 2014; Orlando, FL, USA; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell speaks during a press conference at the NFL Annual Meetings. Mandatory Credit: Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 26, 2014; Orlando, FL, USA; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell speaks during a press conference at the NFL Annual Meetings. Mandatory Credit: Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

The point-after-touchdown (PAT) maintains the status quo after a proposal to make it longer from the 25-yard line failed to pass.

However, the league will experiment with a longer PAT from the 20-yard line during the first two weeks of the preseason.

As for changes, the new rules passed included the banning of goal post dunking and will be implemented for 2014. Proposals tabled for further discussion will likely occur at the league’s spring meeting on May 19-21 in Atlanta.

Meanwhile, one rule currently in place will be given special attention going forward.

A lack of sportsmanship around the league in 2013 led to 34 taunting incidents, a number that increased from nine in 2012.

The Chiefs weren’t immune, as normally quiet defensive tackle Dontari Poe surprisingly drew the team’s only taunting penalty of the season in Week 16 against the Indianapolis Colts.

Still, coaching staffs and players around the league were put on notice Wednesday by the NFL Competition Committee the league has had enough.

“We are going to effect change immediately and that change will be effected as early as the OTAs (organized team activities) when players come back,” said Jeff Fisher, current St. Louis Rams head coach and committee member. “We’ve got to change our conduct on the field. We’ve got to bring the element of respect in its highest level back to our game.”

Speaking to reporters Wednesday morning, Fisher said one of the driving forces to clean up the game came from the college level.

“It’s moving down to this level and we’ve got to eliminate it from that level,” he said. “The NCAA is hoping for us to do something at our level and we’ve got to take the leap. We are going to do that.”

Fisher emphasized there are no new rules in place or drastic changes to the current standard.

Instead, his overall message surrounded the importance of officials enforcing the rules.

“We are going to clean the game up on the field between the players,” Fisher said. “The in-your-face taunting, those types of things. The language, it’s all in the book, it’s all under unsportsmanlike conduct.”

Fisher confirmed the N-word will be included under sportsmanship.

NFL rules implemented

• Referred to as the “Navarro Bowman Rule,” the recovery of a loose ball in the field of play is now reviewable.
• Referees are allowed to consult with the NFL Officiating Command Center in New York during a replay review.
• Goal posts are extended by five feet.
• The game clock will continue to run whenever a quarterback is sacked outside of two minutes.
• The banning of “roll up” blocks along a player’s legs.
• The banning of dunking the football over the goal post, which led to New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham voicing his displeasure on Twitter:

Items tabled for additional discussions

• Doing away with preseason overtime.
• Expanding roster for Thursday night games from a current 46 to a proposed 49.
• Allowing domed home teams to open the roof at halftime.
• Adding cameras to all goal lines, sidelines and end lines.

Proposals turned down

• Increasing the number of plays that are reviewable to include personal fouls.
• Moving kickoffs to the 40-yard line.
• Allowing unlimited number of players on injured reserve to return to the active roster.

Expanding playoffs?

Commissioner Roger Goodell told reporters Wednesday there has been “good discussion,” including with broadcast committees, when it comes to expanding the current playoff format.

While Goodell adds the interest remains high, he wants to ensure the steps taken to possibly make expanded playoff systems a reality are done properly.

“We’ve been very incremental in trying to do this,” Goodell said. “But we believe competitively it could make even our races toward the end of our season even more exciting with more teams vying for playoff positions, which is great for our fans.

“We still want to do some additional work, including talking with the players association. We have a scheduled meeting set for April 8. This will be one of the things we’ll probably discuss and then we’ll also have to talk to broadcast partners and there are some scheduling issues that we still need to work through.”