If the latest proposed rules changes from NFL teams are any indication, coaches around the league are ready for a revamped replay challenge system.
Of the 23 rule proposals on the agenda for next week's owners meetings in Phoenix, 13 are centered on the league's replay review system and/or how a coach goes about challenging a questionable play. None of the proposals involving replay came from the league's competition committee, which is a mix of coaches and executives who study all aspects of the game and recommend rules and policy changes to NFL clubs.
The Browns did not submit any rule change proposals this year.
Here's a breakdown of five of the most interesting proposals.
-- Proposals Nos. 1-13 all involved the replay system in some way, shape or fashion. The New England Patriots suggested the elimination of the infamous red challenge flag altogether. Instead, the challenging team will call a timeout and, if the challenge is upheld, the team gets its timeout back. Initiate a challenge when you don't have a timeout to burn, and it will cost you 15 yards.
The Detroit Lions, who were on the wrong side of a questionable pass interference call in a playoff loss to the Dallas Cowboys, proposed the expansion of the replay system to include reviews of "all fouls identified by a game official."
The Washington Redskins didn't go that far, but offered up "all personal fouls" and any penalty that results in an automatic first down as being subject to review.
The Chicago Bears want officials to be able to review whether or not an offense snapped the ball before the expiration of the play clock.
The Patriots, in a separate proposal, asked for fixed cameras to be placed on the sidelines, end lines and goal lines in order to "guarantee coverage along these lines regardless of where network cameras are positioned."
-- The Indianapolis Colts, in a proposal that immediately went viral on social media, offered up a way for teams to come away from a possession with nine points instead of the current maximum of eight.
In the Colts' proposal, a scoring team would be offered a try at a bonus point if it successfully converts a two-point conversion. The team would get a crack at a 50-yard field goal for the ninth point. If it's feeling extra spunky, the team can attempt a fake field goal from that distance, but the play would still net just one point.
The Patriots offered up a much more conservative adjustment to post-touchdown plays. If a team wants to kick for one point, it would do it from the defense's 15-yard line, according to the proposal.
-- The competition committee offered up a proposal that got Browns linebacker Craig Robertson's attention. Along with Nos. 50-59 and 90-99, linebackers would be permitted to wear Nos. 40-49 if the adjustment to the NFL's number policy passes. The reasoning, according to the committee, is simple: Teams are having a tough time working within the current parameters to satisfy their needs at the position.
Robertson, for what it's worth, wore No. 42 at North Texas. He's been wearing No. 53 with the Browns.
-- The competition committee also proposed an adjustment to rules involving "players in a defenseless posture."
With this adjustment, the intended receiver of a pass in the immediate continuing action following an interception would be considered defenseless. He would not be considered a defenseless player if he is viewed as "capable of avoiding or warding off the impending contact." The rule currently protects receivers attempting to catch a pass who are unable to protect themselves and quarterbacks in the act or just after the act of throwing a pass.
-- As it currently stands, dead ball unsportsmanlike and taunting fouls are not enforced if they occur on the final play of the half. If an adjustment to the rule passes next week, those penalties will be enforced on the ensuing kickoff.
The committee used one word to describe why it's proposing the change: sportsmanship.