A few more notes on NFL rules changes....
The league seems to be trying to eliminate kickoffs from the game altogether. The league's owners have passed a rule for 2015 that moves the touchback line of scrimmage to the 25-yard line, a five-yard improvement over the old rule.
Per the EPA model, the league as a whole should put up ~150 more points in 2016 vs 2015 due to the touchback rule.— Rich Hill (@PP_Rich_Hill) March 23, 2016
When a kickoff goes to the 1-10 yardline, average return gets to about the 24.8. Slight advantage to 25 but more risky than into the endzone— Nathan Jahnke (@PFF_NateJahnke) March 23, 2016
By the numbers last year, if a kickoff went to the middle of the endzone, it should be returned. Now even 1 yard in the EZ, it shouldn't— Nathan Jahnke (@PFF_NateJahnke) March 23, 2016
I'm guessing scoring will be up slightly this year with the offense starting at the 25 most of the time— Nathan Jahnke (@PFF_NateJahnke) March 23, 2016
The automatic ejection rule, which was pretty vehemently opposed by Pete Carroll, has passed. The owners vote on these rules changes, not the teams. This year, the new rule will eject any player flagged for two unsportsmanlike conduct fouls in a game.
Here's why it's probably a dumb rule:
Coaches VERY frustrated w new ejection rule. Why? If star player gets 1 UC flag, other team will spend rest of game baiting that player— Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) March 23, 2016
With star player having 1 flag they fear there will be more pot shots hoping they get caught retaliating— Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) March 23, 2016
On the other hand, the IR-designated to return rule has also been tweaked. This is a good thing. Starting this year, teams do not have to designate a player to return when they place him on the injured reserve list. Last year, you had to pick one player for IR-Boomerang and designate him as such when placing him on the list. Now, players still have to be on IR for at least six weeks before they can be boomeranged, though. This is pretty significant and it's a good, logical tweak.
Other new rules:
-- The PAT will stay at the 15-yard line permanently. More PAT adventures.
-- Offensive and defensive play-callers are able to use the headset communication system whether they are on the field or in the booth.
-- A horse-collar tackle has been expanded to include the area "at the nameplate and above."
-- A team will be flagged for delay of game if they attempt to call a timeout when they are not allowed to.
-- The NFL has eliminated the 5-yard penalty for "an eligible receiver illegally touching a forward pass after being out of bounds and re-establishing himself inbounds, and makes it a loss of down."
-- The NFL has eliminated "multiple spots of enforcement for a double foul after a change of possession."
Troy Vincent and Dean Blandino discuss the significance of the rules changes here -->
What rule change is the most significant? - NFL Videos
Executive VP of Football Operations Troy Vincent and Senior VP of Officiating Dean Blandino discussed the biggest rule changes for the 2016 season with NFL Media's Dan Hellie following the NFL Annual Meeting.