The full details of the NFL Competition Committee’s proposals for the 2012 season are still emerging. Pro Football Talk was tweeting out details emerging from a conference call.
Several caught my eye, both positively and negatively.
First, the proposal to move the NFL trade deadline back to Week 8 from Week 6. Yes. The NFL has the earliest trade deadline (in terms of percentage of season played) of any of the leagues. Most others come after the halfway mark of the season. In week 6, only a few teams are sellers and few are clear buyers. Football, being a team game, is hard enough to implement changes mid-season, but there are possibilities for trades if the deadline was later. This move would encourage player movement (veterans to teams in win now mode, such as a running back entering his last year to a team that just lost a starter).
Second, the proposal to have all turnovers automatically reviewed, just like all scoring plays last year. Hate it. Hate it. Hate it. Coaches want it to take any pressure of making a decision off them. If we automatically review all scoring plays and turnovers, expect more challenges of correct spots. I’m sorry, but if you cannot manage your challenges enough to correctly challenge the right plays, and avoid challenging spots of the ball on second down, that’s a your problem.
Third, the proposal to alter the IR rules, to allow players to come back off the Injured Reserve after six weeks, and return to a game after eight weeks. Absolutely. Now, players who are injured for lengthy periods of time require a team to move on or hold a roster spot as they wait for them to return. This should allow teams to be more conservative, fill roster spots, and means that stars who are hurt for the first half of a season can return without the team having to IR them.
Fourth, the overtime rule changes from the playoffs also being adopted in the regular season. I guess. For consistency purposes, it doesn’t make sense to do it one way in the postseason and another in the regular season. The main benefit here will be watching the officials explain overtime at the coin toss, every week.
Remember, these are all proposals that will have to be adopted by ownership. Historically, the adopt more than they reject, but do reject a fair amount of the changes.
Other potential changes that I suspect are likely to be adopted include changes to the defenseless player definitions to also include protection for head hits on defensive players on “crack back” blocks, and adding quarterbacks in the pocket to players that are protected by the horse collar tackle rule.