NFL Owners Meeting 2014: Tracking Latest News, Rumors and More

Patrick Clarke@@_Pat_ClarkeCorrespondent IMarch 23, 2014

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 05:  NFL commissioner Roger Goodell (L) chats with New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft on the field before the New England Patriots take on the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 5, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Updates from Wednesday, March 26

Manish Mehta of The New York Daily News and Ian Rapoport of NFL Network have the latest on potentially expanding the playoffs: 

Updates from Tuesday, March 25

Paul Pabst of The Dan Patrick Show had the latest on a rule change regarding celebrations next season:

Judy Battista of had more on rule changes surrounding field goals surrounding the uprights of the goal posts:

Updates from Monday, March 24

Albert Breer of provides insight into one of the hot-button issues expected to be discussed at this year's NFL owners meeting:

Original Text

NFL owners, executives and coaches will descend on Orlando, Fla., for four days this March to discuss the state of the league and potential changes for the future.   

The spring meetings kick off Sunday and continue through Wednesday. Over that time, a variety of topics will be discussed and voted on, including the possibility of playoff expansion and potential rule changes. 

Here, we'll track some of the latest news and rumors surrounding the annual offseason event.


What to Watch For

Notable Rule Change and Bylaw Proposals
Rule Change ProposalProposed By
Move kickoff to 40-yard lineWashington Redskins
Make personal foul penalties reviewableWashington Redskins
Eliminate overtime in preseason gamesWashington Redskins
Extend the goal posts an additional five feet above the cross barNew England Patriots
Move the line of scrimmage on the point-after-attempt to the 25-yard line (does not apply to two-point conversions)New England Patriots
Put six cameras on all boundary lines: Sideline, goal line, end line, for replay reviewsNew England Patriots
Allow everything other than scoring plays and turnovers to be challengedNew England Patriots
Make rolling up on the side of a player's leg illegalCompetition Committee
Allowing officials to consult with officiating department during reviewsCompetition Committee
Expanding instant replay to include recovery of a loose ball in field of playCompetition Committee
Allowing game clock to run after QB sack outside of 2-minute warning in 1st and 2nd halfCompetition Committee
Modify pass interference so that it can be called within one yard of the line of scrimmage, not just one-yard and beyondCompetition Committee
Bylaw ProposalProposed By
Increase the game-day roster limit to 49 players for Thursday games after opening weekendWashington Redskins
Raise the practice squad limit from eight players to 10Washington Redskins
Allow teams to trade players prior to the start of the league yearWashington Redskins
Eliminate the roster cutdown from 90 to 75 players during preseason, 90 to 53 insteadWashington Redskins
Allow more than one player to return from injured reserve during the season Washington Redskins
Allow teams to time and test up to 10 Combine prospects at their facilityPhiladelphia Eagles
ESPN's Mike Reiss

Several NFL teams in addition to the competition committee have crafted proposals that will be discussed and voted on over the four scheduled days in Florida.  

None of the proposed rule changes and bylaws up for debate would overhaul the NFL's product but could result in notable changes in the coming years. Replay and the coaches challenge are two of the major topics heading into the spring meetings and could possibly undergo significant change if the majority of owners can agree. Such changes would definitely impact how the game is officiated. 

GREEN BAY, WI - NOVEMBER 04:  Devin Hester #23 of the Chicago Bears fields a punt against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on November 4, 2013 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Bears defeated the Packers 27-20.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Other proposals like kicking off from the 40-yard line and moving extra-point attempts back to the 25-yard line could change how the game is played. Kickoff return specialists would be rendered obsolete, and two-point conversions may become more attractive in sloppy conditions. 

Still, three-fourths of the owners will have to agree on these proposals in order for them to become reality.


Expanded Postseason off the Table for Now?

CHARLOTTE, NC - JANUARY 12: A general view of the NFL Divisional playoff logo on the field during the NFC Divisional Playoff Game between the San Francisco 49ers and Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on January 12, 2014 in Charlotte, North Caro
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

According to The Washington Post's Mark Maske, a source familiar with this spring's NFL owners meetings says owners aren't expected to vote on expanding the 12-team playoff field for the 2015 season.

The league has yet to confirm or deny whether owners will vote on the issue this week; however, it's clear that NFL higher-ups will be discussing the potential change throughout their time in Orlando.

Maske reports that it appears "highly likely" that the league will add two more playoff teams ahead of the 2015 season. He cites the competition committee's efforts and growing league-wide support as the biggest reason why expansion appears likely.

If approved, the field would most likely expand to include 14 teams instead of 12, per Maske:

Expanding the playoff field would enable the league to increase its television revenues, with a previous proposal by the owners to achieve the same result—lengthening the regular season to 18 games per team—apparently all but abandoned because of strong opposition by the players’ union. Under the expanded-playoffs proposal, seven teams in each conference would qualify for the postseason instead of the current six. Only one team in each conference would receive a first-round playoff bye and there would be six first-round games league-wide instead of the current four. One of those games could be played on a Monday night.

Had the expansion plan been adopted prior to last season, the 10-6 Arizona Cardinals and 8-8 Pittsburgh Steelers would have qualified for the 2014 NFL playoffs from the NFC and AFC, respectively. 


Challenge Flag, Replay Review Among Potential Changes

OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 18: Head Coach Dennis Allen throws his red flag challenging a call during the first quarter of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints at Coliseum on November 18, 2012 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Thearon W. He
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Owners will vote on several issues this March, including a challenge-flag rule change and replay-review communication. 

According to's Reid Ferrin, the current proposal regarding the challenge flag would allow coaches to challenge any and all calls. Such a change would not apply to scoring plays, however, as those are automatically reviewed. 

As of right now, there are still certain plays and calls that coaches aren't allowed to challenge.

Last December, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick talked about the current state of coaches challenges, per Boston Herald's Karen Guregian:

I understand that judgment calls are judgment calls, but to say that an important play can't be reviewed, I don’t think that's really in the spirit of trying to get everything right and making sure the most important plays are officiated properly. If you get a situation where they call a guy for being offside, and you don’t think he was offside and you’re willing to use one of your challenges on that to let them go back and take a look at it — I understand if the evidence isn't conclusive that the call stands. If it is (conclusive) then they'd overturn it. If it's offensive holding, if you think one of the offensive linemen tackles your guy as he's rushing the quarterback, and the ball hasn't been thrown, they go back and look at it and if it's that egregious of a violation they would make a call. If it wasn't, they wouldn't. We have to live with that anyway but now it's only on certain plays and certain situations.

On the other hand, the replay-review discussion will center on whether to allow officials to consult with the league's officiating department in New York during games to improve the speed and accuracy of tough calls. 

DENVER, CO - JANUARY 19:  NFL referees walk in the stadium prior to the AFC Championship game between the Denver Broncos and the New England Patriots at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 19, 2014 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Another rule change proposal will be eliminating preseason overtime. If the proposal is approved by owners, preseason games tied after the fourth quarter would be chalked up as a tie and there would be no overtime period to decide a winner.

NBC Sports Pro Football Talk's Michael David Smith says that doing away with overtime in the preseason would be "one small step toward acknowledging that those exhibition games don't matter anyway."

Keep in mind that rule changes must be approved by at least 24 of the 32 team owners (75 percent).


Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter. 

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