NFL teams made the new extra-point-kick rule permanent and eliminated all chop blocks anywhere on the field among rules changes adopted Tuesday at its owners meetings in Boca Raton, Florida.
Other rules changes voted on for the 2016 season: expanding a horse-collar tackle to cover the nameplate on the back of jerseys on up, allowing coach-to-player communications from the sideline as well as the press box; adding a delay-of-game penalty to a team that calls a timeout when it has none remaining; removing a 5-yard penalty for a receiver illegally touching a pass after being out of bounds and making it only a loss-of-down foul; and doing away with multiple enforcement spots for a double foul after a change of possession.
Chop blocks, blocking below an opponent’s waist while the foe is engaged in another block with the blocker’s teammate, had been legal by linemen in certain situations near the snap along the line of scrimmage. Now all such blocks of defenders below their waist are illegal.
Moving the line of scrimmage for extra points back to the 15-yard line for the first time last year resulted in the rate of success in point-after-touchdown kicks going from above 99 percent in 2014 to 94 percent in 2015. The line of scrimmage when a team elects to try a two-point conversion remains the 2-yard line, the old line for PAT kicks.
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The Seahawks’ win at Dallas in November on national television was part of the push to change the rule to penalize calling an extra timeout. Seattle called one it didn’t have and benefitted from it by not getting called for 12 men on the field on a fourth down in its 12-10 win.
A proposal by commissioner Roger Goodell to eject players who get two personal fouls of certain types in a game were reportedly tabled for further discussion.
A small victory for Richard Sherman over “just a suit,” perhaps?