The committee also refused to approve a pair of team proposals for versions of a sky judge concept, allowing the NFL to abandon the recent intervention and revert to the rules it had put in place for his controversial NFC Championship Game 2018.
Owners generally follow the recommendations of the committee and rarely approve proposals submitted by individual teams. A notable exception occurred last year, when the owners pushed the committee to draft a proposal to review the interference and non-appeal calls. Commissioner Roger Goodell was among those who wanted a tangible response to a missed call that helped the Los Angeles Rams defeat the New Orleans Saints and advance to Super Bowl LIII.
The rule led the NFL to reconsider subjective decisions for the first time, and its execution baffled players, coaches and fans. The senior vice-president of arbitration at Al Riveron has never been able to set a consistent standard for what would and would not be overturned.
Because the rule was adopted on a one-year experimental basis, it would have to be approved again by a vote of the owners to continue.
The owners are scheduled to meet May 19-20 in Marina Del Ray, California.
Many coaches prefer a version of a sky judge, a concept used in the Alliance of American Football in 2019 and the XFL in 2020. The Baltimore Ravens and Los Angeles Chargers have come up with two ideas. One is a cabin referee who would serve as the eighth member of the officiating crew, with the ability to communicate with the rest of the crew from a vantage point in the press gallery. The other is a senior technology assistant to the arbitrator. The “STAR”, as mentioned in the proposal, would have access to video material and would have the power to consult officials in a limited number of situations.
The owners are required to review all proposals, whether from the competition committee or from teams. But if they take the committee’s advice, the NFL will not have a safety net to correct some of its most obvious arbitration errors in 2020.
The committee approved two proposed rules:
• A rule that would prevent teams from manipulating the game clock by making multiple dead ball fouls while the clock is running. The New England Patriots and Tennessee Titans were among the teams that used punt tactics to drain the clock while protecting a lead.
• Extension of protection for defenseless players to kickoffs and punt returns who have possession but have not had time to repel imminent contact.