INDIANAPOLIS—The 2014 League Meetings are in the books with five new rule changes passed for this season.
The favorite to Colts fans should be the NFL allowing officials to consult with the league's officiating department in New York during replay reviews.
The Colts proposal "to permit a home team with a retractable roof to open or close its roof at halftime, instead of having to determine at the start of the game whether it is open or closed" has been tabled to be discussed at a later date (Owner's Meetings in May).
Before we take a closer look at the five rule changes, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell addressed the media at the League Meetings on Wednesday morning.
Goodell spoke about the possibility of expanding the playoffs (from 12 to 14 teams), and if it could happen as early as this season.
"We had a good discussion on it on several fronts. As you know, the Competition Committee has been looking at this for a couple of years. We have discussed it in various committees, including broadcasting. We had a full discussion on the floor with the owners and other executives this week. I think there's a tremendous amount of interest in this, possibly even to the point of support, but there are also things we still want to make sure we do it right."
"We've been very incremental in trying to do this, but we believe competitively it could make even our races toward the end of our season even more exciting with more teams vying for playoff positions, which is great for our fans. We still want to do some additional work, including talking with the players association. We have a scheduled meeting set for April 8. This will be one of the things we'll probably discuss and then we'll also have to talk to broadcast partners and there are some scheduling issues that we still need to work through."**
Here's a look at the five rule changes for next season:1. Extend the uprights to make them five feet taller.
-Bowen's Analysis: This seemed very logical as it will only increase the officials ability to tell if field goals are made or not. Too many times field goals cross near the top of the upright with a bit of uncertainty in whether or not they were successful.2. Protect players from getting the sides of their legs rolled up on — the rule already says a blocker can't hit an opponent in the back of the legs, this proposal will add "or side" to the rule.-Bowen's Analysis: A safety issue type of rule that is just another step in trying to prevent serious injuries. We see so many offensive linemen get rolled up on (Anthony Castonzo last preseason) and suffer significant injuries.3. Allow the referee to consult with members of the NFL officiating department during replay reviews. The referee would be able to speak with the command center in New York to help in reviewing a play.-Bowen's Analysis: Colts fans are rejoicing with the passing of this rule. This makes a ton of sense and should allow for the correct rulings to be agreed upon with a central party that is not dealing with the typical on-field chaos of a NFL game.4. Re-organize the rules about what can be reviewed and what cannot be reviewed, including making the recovery of a loose ball in the field of play reviewable. (This is referred to as the NaVorro Bowman rule, after a controversial call in the NFC Championship Game.)-Bowen's Analysis: Once the Bowman play happened, Twitter was in an uproar about not being able to review it. Such a massive turnover could dictate the outcome of any game so correcting this rule was needed.5. Don't stop the clock on a sack and enforce defensive fouls behind the line of scrimmage from the previous spot, rather than from the end of the run or from the spot of the foul.-Bowen's Analysis: The first part of this keeps the game moving and penalizes an offense for taking such a big loss.Also, the league will experiment with moving the extra point back to the 20-yard line during the first two weeks of the preseason.