NFL owners will vote at next week’s league meetings on a proposal to make all ejections subject to video review, the league announced Wednesday in a written rules proposal.
The proposed rule change, which will apply to “any disqualification of a player,” is another step in the league’s emphasis on player safety this offseason, after a rule was approved in March to penalize, and for flagrant offenses eject, players who lower their helmets to make contact with an opponent. Paired together, the two rules would function similarly to the NCAA’s targeting rule.
Many coaches and members of the league’s competition committee have pushed to make ejections reviewable as a backstop for the enforcement of the “lowering the helmet” rule, which was initially met with skepticism from some.
If approved, the new rule would require the league’s officiating center in New York to review video of any offense after an ejection is called and confirm or overturn the decision. The on-field referee will not be involved in reviewing the play or making the decision.
In its current form, the rule would allow for a review only when an ejection has been called, not to determine if an ejection is merited after one was not called on the field. Additionally, reviewing a play on which an ejection was called will not make other aspects of that play reviewable. Currently, all reviewable aspects of any play are subject to be overturned once a replay review has been initiated.
The other major proposal owners will vote on at next week’s meetings in Atlanta is a tweaking of kickoffs, intended to make the play more like a punt in order to reduce high-speed collisions and improve player safety.
The new rule would require all members of the kickoff team to be within one yard of the ball when it is kicked, at least eight players on the return team to be within 15 yards of the ball when it is kicked, and no blocking permitted in that 15-yard area until the ball hits the ground or is caught. Additionally, no wedge blocks of any kind would be permitted.
Also expected at the league meetings is the approval of David Tepper as the new owner of the Carolina Panthers.
—Field Level Media