The Norman Transcript

National Sports

March 26, 2014

NFL office can help refs with replays

(Continued)

ORLANDO, Fla. —

Blandino wasn’t sure this change would lead to more challenges, noting that coaches will still lose a timeout for an incorrect challenge.

Players no longer will be allowed to dunk the football over the crossbar of the goalposts in celebration.

Blandino said the NFL is making a clarification of the rules for mutual respect and sportsmanship.

“We put a rule in several years ago about not using props on the football field: the football, the pylon,” he said. “This is just expanding upon that rule to include the crossbar of the goalpost. We had the situation with (Saints tight end) Jimmy Graham knocking the uprights off kilter last season and it delayed the game.”

“We have a potential rule change where we could raise the uprights, so you may have more issues with that if guys are dunking.”

The owners also banned roll-up blocks to the side of a player. In the past, the rule only barred such blocks from behind.

“We saw some plays on tape that we just felt like we needed to expand that protection,” McKay said.

Commissioner Roger Goodell believes small changes like that one, along with other recent rule changes, have made the game safer.

“We went through that (data) in greater detail with the outside firm that’s been tracking that for us and it’s very clear that the rule changes we have made had the positive impact that we intended,” Goodell said Monday. “While there are some that say it has had a negative (impact) — as an example, ACL injuries being up — that’s not the case. What we’ve seen is that players have adjusted to the rules and they are finding that target zone and it is a safer, better game because of it.”

A dozen other proposals for rules or bylaw changes were being considered by the owners, with votes on them expected Wednesday.

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AP Sports Writers Fred Goodall and Mark Long contributed to this story.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP—NFL

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