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NFL team owners eye rule changes in virtual meeting Thursday

NFL referees such as Bill Vinovich, who worked last February's Super Bowl, could have some new rules to consider after a virtual meeting of NFL team owners next Thursday - Maddie Meyer / ©AFP
NFL referees such as Bill Vinovich, who worked last February's Super Bowl, could have some new rules to consider after a virtual meeting of NFL team owners next Thursday - Maddie Meyer / ©AFP

(AFP)

Adding a “sky judge” to game referees and a new onside kick option are among the rule changes NFL team owners are expected to consider Thursday in a vitual meeting.

According to a posting on the league website, some ideas pushed by NFL clubs will be considered for the 2020 campaign, scheduled to start September 10 with Houston at reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City.

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With the NFL competition committee deciding an unpopular one-year rule allowing video replay review of pass interference penalties would not be renewed, the Baltimore Ravens and Los Angeles Chargers have proposed adding an eighth game official in a replay booth.

The “sky judge” with an overview of play on the field would have access to a video replay feed and could halt play for reconsideration of a play.

Officiating crews would have a new assistant to serve as a technology advisor to facilitate communication with the booth official.

The Philadelphia Eagles have a proposal on changing how teams try and keep possession of the ball after scoring since onside kicks have faded in the past two seasons following rule changes limiting running starts on kickoffs for safety reasons.

Only 10.4% of onside kicks were recovered by the kicking team over the past two seasons.

The Eagles’ idea would allow teams trailing in a game to keep the ball after scoring if they can convert a fourth-down-and-15-yards play for a first down from its own 25-yard line.

The move could be attempted no more than twice in a game, with failure giving the opponents the ball on the kicking team’s half of the field.

Another idea proposed by the competition committee would keep teams from manipulating the clock by committing multiple fouls while the clock is running but before a play starts.

The New England Patriots used the move last season against the New York Jets only to have it used against them by Tennessee in a first-round playoff victory by the Titans.

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