Back in March, the NFL owners passed a few new rule changes and tabled discussion on a few others until the next set of league meetings.
The owners met again this week in Atlanta and approved those proposals that had been put on hold. Those bylaw amendments will be implemented, pending input and discussion from the NFLPA.
Below are the rule proposals that were approved by the NFL Competition Committee:
- Moving the trade deadline from Week 6 to Week 8
- One player from a team’s injured reserve list would be able to begin practicing after six weeks and return to play after eight weeks.
- Beginning in the 2013 season, NFL players will be required to wear thigh and knee pads.
What they’re saying about the changes:
On making thigh and knee pads mandatory:
Competition Committee Chairman Rich McKay: “This has been a topic that we have discussed for a number of years with the union and internally. There are probably some of us who are remiss that we ever took it from the rulebook when we took it out of the rulebook and made it more recommended as opposed to mandatory. Obviously, high school makes it mandatory; college makes it mandatory. In our mind, that is what should occur here. It will in the 2013 season. We have some input to get from the union before that, and we have some design work from some of the manufacturers on pads and improvements from the last time they were mandatory both in the thigh and knee areas.”
Broncos CB Tracy Porter: ““I’m a believer in it. I’ve been wearing them since my rookie year. … Some guys are superstitious to say that wearing the thigh and knee pads slows them down, but for the most part, I think it’s a myth. I still feel pretty fast when I’m out there with thigh and knee pads. It’s all about what a guy likes. He’s been accustomed to not wearing thigh and knee pads, so that’s just something that he’s used to. Now everybody has to get back to being used to wearing them.”
NFL VP of Player Engagement Troy Vincent: “It is good for the game. To Jeff’s point, we should be setting the example. My children today play youth and high school football. It is the way it should be done. You are properly equipped and dress the kids. That is the only way they know, and then when it has gotten to our level, it has changed. But it is something they were comfortable with and had adapted to early on in their lives. I think it will be a natural progression, especially with the changing of the culture coming in.”
On the injured reserve modification:
McKay: “The IR proposal has been talked about for four or five years, and it has always been talked about because of the pressures of the roster and the fact that if early in the season you have a star player injured and that pressure of needing that roster spot means putting him on IR. So it has always been talked about.”
On the trade deadline
McKay: “The proposed trade deadline is something that we have talked about for a number of years. We just felt like this was the perfect year to do it because of the change in the CBA. With the CBA changing and acceleration not occurring on trades but being driven by the June 1 Rule, there is a technicality there. It used to be that if you traded a player, acceleration occurred under the salary cap. That limited trades dramatically during the season. You would always see articles discussing potential trades and then we would say ‘well what happened here.’ The salary cap was one of the reasons. That impediment has now been eliminated, because now the acceleration is driven by the June 1 Rule. So in our mind, there was an opportunity for more trades. There has always been a pushback by some of us that we do not want to move the trade deadline too late because we don’t want the deadline to affect competition on the field late in the year as can occur in other sports. We were definitely motivated by that. That is where we felt like Week 8 was a good week. Everybody is still in it. There is virtually nobody in Week 8 that in our league is eliminated. We felt like it was a fair proposal to the teams and potentially allowed more trades.”