National Football League owners to mull rule changes

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The now infamous non-call near the end of regulation in the NFC Championship Game between the New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Rams may spur a change in the National Football League rulebook - though that change would not have benefitted the Saints in that moment if it were available.

Owners overall will have six replay-related proposals submitted by different National Football League teams to discuss and weigh in Phoenix - most of which would go far further than the Competition Committee's suggestions in terms of changing the current replay review system. The Redskins are proposing that 1) All plays occurring during a game would be subject to a coaches' challenge or a review by the officiating department in the instant replay system; and 2) Personal foul penalties (called or not called on the field) would also be subject to review.

The impetus for the rule change is an incident late in January's NFC Championship Game in which a Los Angeles Rams defender ran into a receiver before the ball arrived on the play.

The Eagles are proposing that scoring plays and turnovers negated by a foul would be subject to an automatic replay review, while the Eagles, Panthers, Rams and Seahawks are proposing that designated player safety-related fouls (called or not called on the field) would also be subject to a coaches' challenge. The Chiefs are proposing that both teams would get the chance to possess the ball at least once in overtime, even if the first team with the ball scores a touchdown.

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A proposed rule change also came out of the AFC title game.

When NFL owners gather for their annual meetings Sunday through Wednesday in Phoenix, they will consider several rule changes for the 2019 season. That proposed rule change would also eliminate overtime in preseason exhibitions and would eliminate the overtime coin toss altogether, allowing the team that won the coin toss at the start of regulation to decide whether it wants to start with the ball or defend a specific goal.

That proposed amendment sounds similar to a rule used in the upstart Alliance of American Football, in which a team, if trailing by 17 or more, or if trailing by any margin with five minutes or less remaining in the game, can attempt to convert a fourth-and-12 play from its own 28-yard line to maintain possession.

In order for any of these rules to be changed, 24 of the 32 owners have to vote in favor of the change.

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