Full Agenda For NFL Meeting
Mar 23, 2009, 9:16:30 AM by Bob Gretz - FAQ
The NFL’s annual spring meeting began on Sunday in Dana Point, California. Based on the issues that currently confront the league, some of the owners and administrators won’t get much time to enjoy the ocean views, spa and golf course.
Without even considering questions about the struggling economy that hover above all businesses these days, the owners and administrators have plenty of topics to talk about. Some are on the agenda, some are not.
For instance, just what the Denver Broncos will do with quarterback Jay Cutler or what the Carolina Panthers will do with defensive end Julius Peppers will cause a lot of conversations in the meetings rooms, hallways and tap rooms. Cutler’s situation has become well known: he wants out of Denver. The Broncos are saying they will not trade their quarterback, but then right now that’s what they have to say. Peppers is carrying the franchise player tag for the Panthers and he’s said he will not re-join the team. Sooner or later Carolina must do something with Peppers because he’s tying up too much room under the salary cap.
Those are informal discussion topics. More of those, along with some that are actually on the agenda include:
OVERTIME: The league’s Competition Committee has proposed no changes in the overtime rules, despite the fact there appears growing sentiment to allow both teams at least one possession in the extra period. One of those clubs in favor of a change are the Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers.
“We’d like to see each team get one possession,” said Steelers president Art Rooney II. “Not make it anything that has to be a dramatic change, but really just have each team get one possession before we have to get into a sudden-death situation.”
While the committee has made no proposal that does not mean that the owners cannot make a change to the rules.
RULES CHANGES: The league’s competition committee is stressing player safety issues in their proposals for changes in the rules. They want to eliminate bunch formations on kickoffs; teams would be forced to have so many players outside the numbers and so many players outside the hash marks. They also want to eliminate the blocking wedge on kickoff returns; teams could have no more than a two-man wedge. They want to eliminate helmet to helmet hits from the blind side and they also want to put in more protection for receivers who are in the air.
Those last two proposals figure to generate a bit of discussion because they will increase judgment calls by the officials. An official sees what looks like a helmet-to-helmet collision, when in fact the defensive player made contact with his shoulder.
One other change would eliminate the re-kick on an on-side attempt should there be a penalty.
INSTANT REPLAY: Last year, Ed Hochuli’s call on what was a fumble by Cutler against San Diego helped decide the game in favor of Denver. Hochuli ruled the play an incomplete pass and it could not be reviewed. A proposal would not allow the play to be reviewed by replay.
POINTS OF EMPHASIS: The Competition Committee wants ownership to approve two areas where officials would be extra vigilant: horse collar tackles and low hits on quarterbacks. The horse collar tackle has been outlawed but last year several such tackles were not penalized. The low hits on quarterbacks can almost be directly traced to Bernard Pollard’s crawling blow to Tom Brady’s knee that knocked the Patriots quarterback out for the season.
DRAFT CHANGE: In this April’s draft, the San Diego Chargers have the 16th pick in the first round, while the Indianapolis Colts have the 27th pick, this despite the fact San Diego beat Indy in the playoffs. The change would make the draft order of the final 12 spots dependent on results from the playoffs.
EXPANDED PLAYOFFS: In the past, the Chiefs were a proponent for increasing the field for the playoffs. This subject is not on the agenda.
HAIR ISSUE: Brought up last year and championed by the Chiefs organization, the rule would prohibit extra long hair coming out of the back of a player’s helmet. There’s been no discussion about this issue leading into this week’s meeting.
ROSTER SIZE: Last year, there was a lot of talk going into the meeting about the 80-man maximum roster a team could take to training camp. Some teams wanted to increase that size. But there has been no public discussion about this issue for this year.
THANKSGIVING GAMES: Teams for years have complained that Detroit and Dallas get an unfair advantage by hosting Thanksgiving Day games every year. The league says it has done research and found no advantage so it’s unlikely that there will be any more discussion on this issue.