At the NFL Annual Meeting in Phoenix this week, owners voted on several proposed rule changes.
Perhaps the most impactful might be the rule change that expands replay to subjective calls like pass interference. Under the new rule, coaches can challenge offensive and defensive pass interference calls, including non-calls. In the final two minutes of each half, calls will be subject to a booth review. This rule goes into effect for the 2019 season only and will be re-evaluated for a permanent change next year.
"As I've gone on in years in this league and I've seen so many things improve relative to obviously the players, the technology and the officials – I'm going to be real clear about this – I think the officials do a really good job and they have a very tough job," head coach BIll O'Brien said Tuesday. "I think anything we can do to help them get the call right on the field in certain situations is a good thing for the game, and that's what we're trying to resolve."
Reviewable plays will now also include fouls for roughing the passer, unnecessary contact against a player in a defenseless posture. Automatic replay reviews will be expanded to include scoring plays and turnovers negated by a foul and any extra-point or two-point conversion.
Owners also approved last year's kickoff changes and made them permanent.
Defenseless player protection was expanded with the elimination of blindside blocks, defined as forcible contact to a player with use of the blocker's helmet, forearm or shoulder.
NFL clubs passed seven rules, six bylaws and two resolutions at this year's Annual meeting. A proposal by the Kansas City Chiefs to ensure both teams receive possession during overtime was tabled until the Spring Meeting in May. The Denver Broncos' proposal to adopt an AAF-style alternative to the onside kick, allowing teams to choose a fourth-and-15 at their own 35-yard line following a score, was defeated.