On Wednesday, the annual NFL Spring Meeting concluded with a couple of NFL rule changes, and also a couple of notes from commissioner Roger Goodell. The meetings took place on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday in Atlanta, Georgia.
Probably the most important potential change has to do with the Injured Reserve and Active Lists. The owners approved a change that would allow clubs to return one player from Injured Reserve to their Active List throughout the season. This change has been talked about for several years now, and barring some type of complication, should be effective beginning next season. This rule change was carried over from meetings in March and the authority has been delegated to the Management Council Executive Committee, and they will finalize this proposal. It might seem simple, but this change allows teams to bring a marquee player back if healthy enough to return. In years past, players placed on Injured Reserve were barred from coming back in the same season. In short, although likely to be ratified, this decision isn’t final yet.
But the owners did vote on a new rule that requires all players to wear thigh and knee pads beginning in 2013. It should be rather obvious that this is for player safety. Now, this shouldn’t drastically change the game or the play-style of players, although they may tell you otherwise. Competition Committee Chairman Rich McKay discussed the expected impact of this new requirement, saying, “If we can help players remain safer and not have any effect on the game and just makes player safety better – we thought it was a rule we should implement.”
Also, a proposal was made that suggested moving the trade deadline back a little further from Week 6 to Week 8. Like the Injured Reserve proposal, it was also delegated to the CEC (Management Council Executive Commitee).
Roger Goodell also offered input on some of the policies, among other things. Here are a couple of comments Goodell made at the NFL Spring Meeting:
On the Pro Bowl and New Orleans:
“We did have a lengthy discussion about the Pro Bowl, not specifically about a site. The discussion was about the quality of the Pro Bowl, including the commitments we have with our network partners; where we could play the game and about all of our discussions with the Players Association, how to make the game better. We’ve had numerous discussions over several months about what we can do to make the game more competitive.”
On WiFi fan initiative:
“The initiative is to get WiFi in all of our stadiums both for mobile devices including telephony. We want to make sure fans when they come into our stadiums don’t have to shut down – they can bring their devices. We want them to have access to the same amount of information, have access to our RedZone channel, have access to highlights, and be able to engage in social media including Fantasy Football. When you come to our stadiums, we want to make it a great experience. That is what it is about.”
On the International Series in London and the Buffalo Bills Toronto Series:
“In Buffalo, it is part of a series in trying to broaden their reach to make sure that they are a regional franchise. They have been at it for two decades into the southern region, into the Rochester region and now north into southern Ontario. It is a great thing for the franchise. It is a great thing for the fans.”
“The London series has continued to be very, very well received. Ticket sales are going extremely well from the reports I have, even in the light of the fact the Olympics are there. In the meantime, we expect that we will be evaluating some time later this year expanding that series next year to more than one game. We believe that market is going to continue to grow for us.”
The owners didn’t discuss any dramatic changes, but certainly small ones were made. We’ll have to wait and see if the Injured Reserve/Active List proposal is ratified, along with the trade deadline proposal.
This was the last time the owners will meet before the Pro Football Hall of Fame game.
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