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League votes on Patriots rules change proposals

Posted Mar 26, 2014

Results are a mixed bag for New England's officially submitted ideas at the Annual Meeting.

ORLANDO – Bill Belichick’s impassioned arguments in favor of four changes to the NFL rule book has yielded some fruit.

At the conclusion of the league’s Annual Meeting, decision-makers voted to accept Belichick’s officially submitted proposal to raise the height of the uprights on the goal posts an extra five feet on each side. From the outset, that seemed like the most likely one to pass, because it was the simplest, and it did. If this had been the case in 2012, maybe Justin Tucker’s field goal attempt would have clanged off it in Week 3 and the Patriots would have beaten Baltimore that night.

Belichick also wanted to add fixed cameras to the end zone area (goal line, end line, and sidelines) to aid with replay reviews. That idea has been shelved until the next NFL gathering in Atlanta in May. So, it still has a chance to pass, even in a modified form, in time for the upcoming season.

While the various clubs tabled Belichick’s suggestion to move the extra point line of scrimmage all the way back to the 25-yard line, the league has agree to experiment with a new PAT line of scrimmage during the preseason. For each team's first two games in August, extra points will be snapped from the 20, meaning the one-point kick attempts would be from 38 yards out instead of the current 20. This is a strong indication that the league is mostly in favor of Belichick’s idea that the extra point has become a non-competitive play and needs to be scrutinized for improvement.

Curiously, the membership rejected Belichick’s very sensible idea to have all plays be subject to review. That, to me, seemed like a reasonable way to advance the notion that the league wants to get every call right. This should have at the very least been tabled for further discussion until the May meetings, but now, if Belichick feels as strongly about it next year at this time, he’ll have to resubmit the proposal at the 2015 Annual Meeting.

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