NFL Adopts 3 New Rule Changes, Onside Kick Amendment Does Not Pass

Jordan Cohn
May 28, 2020 - 1:43 pm
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Of all the rule proposals brought to the 2020 virtual league meetings, the one that carried the most intrigue looked to add another way for a trailing team to get the ball back besides an onside kick.

Three rules passed at the meeting. The onside kick rule was not one of them.

Albert Breer first reported that this rule change had been rejected, garnering mixed reviews from the stream of his Twitter followers that commented immediately on the matter.

The rule changes that did pass were initially reported by Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. Both proposals brought forward by the NFL's Competition Committee passed, one expanding the definition of a "defenseless player" to "a kickoff or punt returner who is in possession of the ball but who has not had time to avoid or ward off the impending contact of an opponent." As Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk describes it, a special teams player is no longer allowed to drill a returner until he has '[had] the ball long enough to give himself a chance to protect himself in some way."

The second of the Competition Committee rules to pass was reads that teams may no longer commit "multiple dead-ball fouls while the clock is running," and fans immediately see the connection to Bill Belichick and Mike Vrabel. Both of these coaches have allegedly used this tactic to their advantage, with Vrabel getting the last laugh against Belichick in last year's playoffs.

The third rule change was proposed by the Eagles, who had also brought the onside kick amendment to the table. However, they got their wish with one rule, as the league will now permanently and automatically review all scoring plays and turnovers that were negated by a foul.

Additionally, a bylaw was changed regarding players on injured reserve.

A controversial rule change from last year, pass interference replay review, has already been eliminated for the 2020 season.

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