Leaping ban on field goals, extra points approved in NFL rules shake-up
Special teams players trying to block a kick might have to resort to a new set of tricks next season.
On Tuesday, NFL owners voted to outlaw players from leaping over offensive linemen on field goal or extra point attempts.
The competition committee's measure was endorsed by the NFL Players Association, with union president Eric Winston saying at the scouting combine that the tactic put players at risk. Players previously were permitted to vault over the line of scrimmage so long as they did not land directly on another person or use their hands or arms to gain leverage.
Among the other rules voted on Tuesday:
• A hand-held device for referees will replace the sideline replay monitor, and centralized replay was approved with members of the league's officiating department given final say on calls.
• Committing multiple fouls during the same down in order to manipulate the game clock will now be considered unsportsmanlike conduct. Both the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers engaged in multiple holding penalties last season to run out the clock out the end of the game (rules allow for contests to end on an offensive penalty). Additionally, the league banned "actions to conserve time" after the two-minute warning of either half.
• Last year's rule disqualifying players who is penalized at least twice for certain kinds of unsportsmanlike conduct was made permanent.
• Receivers running pass routes will now have defenseless player protection.
• Crackback blocks from backfield players in motion are now prohibited in all circumstances.
• Touchbacks on free kicks will now result in the ball being placed at the 25-yard line for one year.
• A proposal that would have placed the ball at the 20-yard line (rather than the 25) if a kickoff went through the uprights did not pass.
• A proposal to shorten the overtime period from 15 minutes to 10 minutes was not adopted.
PHOTOS: Notable NFL players changing teams in 2017