Seahawks at heart of key rule proposals

NFL logo and penalty flagThe league owners meetings next week are in Phoenix, which is apropos considering a couple of the proposed rule changes come right out of a game last season between the Arizona Cardinals and the Seahawks.

In that game, Bobby Wagner did his best Kam Chancellor imitation, leaping over the line to block a field goal. The teams ended up playing the full 15-minute overtime and finishing in a tie — the first of two NFL ties last season.

That game provided a lot of impetus for the NFL competition committee’s proposal to ban leaping and cut overtime to 10 minutes.

Chancellor was actually the first one to start the recent leaping trend, with his spectacular (and hilarious) feat of athleticism against Carolina in the 2014 postseason.

Arizona coach Bruce Arians was annoyed by Wagner’s move — most likely because it was a success — and has been stumping for the ban.

Both Chancellor and Wagner criticized the proposal earlier this week.

“They are trying to turn our league more and more into the No Fun League,” Chancellor tweeted. And Wagner added, “They shouldn’t. It’s fun jumping. I think the fans like it, too.”

Agreed on all points there, but the league thinks it is dangerous — so it seems destined to be outlawed.

This is not the first time the Seahawks have been at the heart of rule changes. In the late 1980s, the NFL instituted a short-lived noise rule because of the effect the 12th Man in the Kingdome had on opposing teams. And, an egregious call that gave the Jets a last-play win over the Hawks in 1998 was the final straw that brought back instant replay the next year.

The league is still tweaking replay to this day.

Seattle and Buffalo reportedly have submitted a joint proposal to allow coaches to challenge any officiating decision. The Patriots have proposed that more than once, and it seems very unlikely to pass. In addition, Washington has proposed to increase the number of challenges.

The competition committee has proposed a few other replay-related moves:

**Giving the league office final say over replay decisions, with input from the referee.
**Eliminating sideline replay monitoring, instead having the referee use a tablet on the field to consul with the league office.
**Allowing the referee to make replay announcements during commercial breaks

Those proposals are among a dozen or more that will be considered, including a bunch of tweaks to help the pace of the game and the TV viewer experience.

Other reported proposals:

**Permanently move touchbacks to the 25-yard line
**Make permanent the automatic ejection rule for two unsportsmanlike conduct fouls
**Expand defenseless player protection to include receivers running routes, even within five yards of the line of scrimmage
**Standardize the starting of the clock when the runner goes out of bounds with more than two minutes remaining in the first half and over five minutes left in the second half.
**Institute a 40-second clock after extra points when going to a kickoff if there is not a commercial break.
*Standardize the halftime length to 13 minutes and 30 seconds.

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