Proposal to reseed NFL playoffs teams dies
Vail, CO Colorado
PALM BEACH, Fla. ” A show of hands made it obvious that reseeding the NFL playoffs wasn’t such a good idea.
So the league’s competition committee withdrew the proposal Wednesday after an informal vote sent it “down in flames,” according to New York Giants co-owner John Mara.
The owners did pass several resolutions, including eliminating the forceout on receptions; allowing teams to defer their decision to the second half when winning the opening coin toss; and making field goals and extra points subject to replay review to determine whether the ball passes over the crossbar and through the uprights.
In addition, any direct snap from center that is untouched by the quarterback now will be a live ball; in the past it was considered a false start and the play was blown dead. The 5-yard penalty for incidental contact with a facemask has been eliminated, with the 15-yarder remaining for any grasping or twisting of the facemask.
On Tuesday, the owners approved a communication device in the helmet of one defensive player.
Competition committee co-chairman Rich McKay, president of the Atlanta Falcons, was not surprised about the lack of support for reseeding, in which a wild-card team with a better record than a division winner would play at home in the first playoff round.
“This idea we wanted to push this year to get the discussion going,” McKay said. “There were not a lot of hands up, so we withdrew the proposal for now.
“There is the historical idea that a division champion should have a home game.”
Which was exactly why Patriots owner Robert Kraft opposed reseeding.
“I do believe if you win a division, it’s good for your fans to know you will have a home game,” Kraft said. “To win a division, there is a reward and we wanted to keep that.”
There remains concern about late-season games becoming meaningless when teams already have secured their playoff positions. Commissioner Roger Goodell indicated discussions of reseeding are not dead.
“The focus I said to the competition committee is what are the alternatives we have to make sure every game is as competitive as possible,” Goodell said. “I think the debate was good.”
Tennessee Titans coach Jeff Fisher said eliminating the forceout rule was approved unanimously and that it will help officiating. A receiver now must get two feet inbounds unless he actually is carried out of bounds by a defender after catching the ball.
Fisher also noted how strongly deferring the choice on the coin toss, currently the rule in college, was accepted 30-2.
“I was surprised by the support. We’ll see how that goes,” he said. “It now gives coaches a third option. After talking to a number of coaches, many prefer to start on offense. I think we may see (more) deferrals later in the year with weather considerations.”
Reviewing field goals was a slam dunk for the owners after a kick by Cleveland’s Phil Dawson to tie a game at Baltimore hit the support behind the crossbar, then came back onto the field. Officials got the call correct despite not being allowed to use replay. Now they can.
Goodell also was given a pledge by the owners to support his protection of the integrity of the game, something for which he has been praised in his 18 months in charge. The NFL’s image has taken some hits with the Michael Vick and Pacman Jones situations and the Spygate scandal. Goodell acted swiftly in all those cases, impressing the league membership.
“Goodell reiterated he wants to meet with former Patriots employee Matt Walsh, who has indicated he has more information about the team taping opponents’ signals. But Goodell added “at some point, I will run out of patience.”
“McKay said the competition committee will look into scheduling more games between division opponents late in the season to combat the possibility of meaningless matchups.
“The committee will investigate what to do with the defensive player who has the communication device when that player also is on special teams. He suggested the device would be cut off during such plays.
“Goodell emphasized the owners’ support for NFL Network and his optimism that the channel will wind up on the main tiers of the major cable outlets with which the league currently is feuding.
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