Inside The Bills

Comp. comm. elects not to amend catch rule

Posted by Chris Brown on March 17, 2016 – 3:43 pm

The NFL Competition Committee has a bunch of different rule proposals they’ll be considering at the owners meetings to present to the 32 member clubs for approval. One area of the game that won’t be amended however, is the catch rule.

NFL Executive VP of Football Operations Troy Vincent said they took a long look at potentially enacting change, but in the end determined it was best to leave the catch rule in its current form.

“We’ve spent an exorbitant amount of time during the offseason with two committees made up of some of our former players and current players to watch over 100 different clips going back to the Burt Emmanuel days to the infamous Dez Bryant playoff ‘catch,'” said Vincent. “When we sat down with them as well as the league officials we’ve been clear that it’s a three-step process. Possession, two feet down and that time element and the safety element, which is extremely important too. The rule allows us to protect the catcher. So after watching a ton of video and bringing different voices in both current and former, it was unanimous that the three-step process and the way the language reads is appropriate.”


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NFL 2016 playing rule proposals

Posted by Chris Brown on March 17, 2016 – 2:56 pm

The NFL Competition Committee released their 2016 Playing Rules Proposals in addition to those submitted by NFL clubs for consideration. These proposals will be debated by the Competition Committee at the owners meetings next week and presented to club ownership for a vote to amend.

Among the more notable is proposal 3 that would make all chop blocks illegal. Currently the only illegal chop blocks are ones that are executed when a player is engaged with another player.

Proposal 4 disqualifies a player who is penalized twice in a game for certain unsportsmanlike conduct fouls. This is in response to the embarrassing back and forth dirty play between Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. and Panthers CB Josh Norman last season.

Proposal 16 would expand the horse collar rule to include defenders who pull a player down by his name plate on the back of his jersey to the ground. If that passes it would render tackles like the one Zach Brown had on Tyrod Taylor in Week 5 at Tennessee a horse collar tackle.

Taylor suffered a sprained MCL on that play and missed the next two games. Here’s the full list of proposals.

2016 Playing Rules Proposals
1. By Competition Committee; Permanently moves the line of scrimmage for Try kicks to the defensive team’s 15-yard line, and allows the defense to return any missed Try.

2. By Competition Committee; Permits the offensive and defensive play callers on the coaching staffs to use the coach-to-player communication system regardless of whether they are on the field or in the coaches’ booth.

3. By Competition Committee; Makes all chop blocks illegal.

4. By Competition Committee; Disqualifies a player who is penalized twice in one game for certain types of unsportsmanlike conduct fouls.

5. By Competition Committee; Changes the spot of the next snap after a touchback resulting from a free kick to the 25-yard line.

6. By Baltimore; to amend Rule 5, Sections 3, Articles 1 and 2 (Changes in Position) to require players to wear jersey vests with numbers appropriate for their positions.

7. By Baltimore; to amend Rule 15, Section 2, Articles 1, 4, and 5 (Instant Replay) to provide each team with three challenges and expand reviewable plays.

8. By Buffalo; to amend Rule 15, Section 2, Articles 1, 4, and 5 (Instant Replay) to permit a coach to challenge any official’s decision except scoring plays and turnovers.

9. By Carolina; to amend Rule 8, Section 2, Article 1 (Intentional Grounding) to expand the definition of intentional grounding.

10. By Kansas City; to amend Rule 14, Section 2, Article 1 (Half-distance Penalty) to add penalty yards to the distance needed to gain a First Down.

11. By Kansas City; to amend Rule 8, Section 1, Article 2 (Legal Forward Pass) to prohibit quarterbacks from falling to the ground, getting up, and throwing a forward pass.

12. By Minnesota; to amend Rule 15, Section 2, Article 1 (Coaches’ Challenge) to eliminate the requirement that a team be successful on each of its first two Instant Replay challenges in order to be awarded a third challenge.

13. By Washington; to amend Rule 16, Section 1, Articles 1, 4, 6 and 7 (Overtime procedures) to eliminate overtime periods in preseason games.

14. By Washington; to amend Rule 15, Section 2, Article 4 (Reviewable Plays) to subject personal foul penalties to Instant Replay review.

15. By Washington; to amend Rule 15, Section 2, Article 1 (Coaches’ Challenge) to eliminate the requirement that a team be successful on each of its first two Instant Replay challenges in order to be awarded a third challenge.

16. By Competition Committee; Expands the horse collar rule to include when a defender grabs the jersey at the name plate or above and pulls a runner toward the ground.

17. By Competition Committee; Makes it a foul for delay of game when a team attempts to call a timeout when it is not permitted to do so.

18. By Competition Committee; Eliminates the five-yard penalty for an eligible receiver illegally touching a forward pass after being out of bounds and re-establishing himself inbounds, and makes it a loss of down.

19. By Competition Committee; Eliminates multiple spots of enforcement for a double foul after a change of possession.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Competition Comm. may expand low hit on QB rule

Posted by Chris Brown on March 14, 2016 – 10:59 am

There have long been rules in place in the NFL banning hits below the knee on a quarterback in the pocket. Now it sounds like the NFL’s Competition Committee will be looking for ways to expand that rule to enhance protection of the most important position in sports.

That according to NFL Executive VP of Football Operations Troy Vincent.


The NFL’s Competition Committee is meeting this week to discuss the options. They’ll present their recommendations to the league at the owners’ meetings next week in South Florida.

Posted in Inside the Bills

Extra points moved back to 15 yd line

Posted by Chris Brown on May 19, 2015 – 7:27 pm

The extra point rule rule changes proposed by the league’s Competition committee were passed by a vote of 30-2 by NFL owners. Here are the details. 

The extra point try will be moved back to the 15-yard line. Two-point conversion attempts will stay at the two-yard line. 

The other big change is the defense has a chance to score on a blocked extra point or intercepted two-point pass or two-point fumble recovery. If successfully returned it would be two points as well. 

More details on the change can be found here. 

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NFL clubs pushing to expand replay

Posted by Chris Brown on March 18, 2015 – 3:37 pm

The NFL Competition Committee will be meeting over the next week at the league meetings and they’ve got a host of replay expansion proposals from NFL clubs.

In fact of the 23 rule proposal changes, 13 involved the replay system in some way, shape or form. New England’s proposal was the broadest as they asked for replay to be expanded where any call in a game can be challenged. A handful of teams wanted certain fouls to be reviewed by officials on replay, including those on defenseless receivers. Another club wanted to increase coaches challenges from two to three.

Even the time on the game and play clocks were items teams proposed be reviewable under replay.

It would be surprising if many of these took effect, knowing the league has worked hard with the officiating committee to reduce the time of games. That was accomplished in 2014 with the average game time reduced from three hours and seven minutes to three hours and five minutes. Expanding review would only slow the game down more.

However, there were some interesting proposals that the Competition Committee will consider. Here were some of the more noteworthy ones.

Guarantee both teams a possession in overtime (Chicago proposal)

Allow for a bonus extra point following a successful two-point conversion. So if a team goes for two after a touchdown and converts, that team will have an opportunity to try an extra point as well from the opponent’s 32-yard line, amounting to a 50-yard kick attempt. (Indianapolis proposal)

The Colts say the proposal is to encourage more two-point attempts

Expand the jersey numbers for linebackers to include 40-49 (in addition to 50-59 and 90-99).

Among the more interesting bylaw change proposals was eliminating the 75-player cut down at training camp. The reason cited is to develop players and for safety by not over-repping players in the preseason setting.

Posted in Inside the Bills

Jeff Fisher on fate of the PAT

Posted by Chris Brown on February 21, 2014 – 7:20 pm

There has been much discussion on whether the extra point attempt is a necessary play anymore in the NFL. A key member of the NFL Competition Committee provided an update on where the fate of the PAT lies right now in the league’s decision making.

Fisher basically said if a change is made it won’t be enacted in the 2014 season.

“We’re just starting the process,” said Fisher. “The process basically involves digesting the information from the club surveys, that the committee sends out in January. There’s an awful lot of comments with respect to that. We’ve had several conversations on that, and we’ll continue to do that over the next few weeks and talk to ownership. But it’s unlikely – highly unlikely that we do something this year.

“You know, someone said there were five extra points missed last year. We were also told that they were all blocked. So you block an extra point at the end of a ballgame, which gives you a chance to win a ballgame, you’re taking a play away. Now, there’s been a lot of suggestions on how to do things, so we’re just pretty much kicking things around now. We’ll continue to do so.”

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Bills hoping proposal passes

Posted by Chris Brown on March 27, 2012 – 7:19 am

The NFL Competition Committee is hard at work at the league meetings in south Florida. The Bills are hoping their instant replay review proposal passes for a couple of reasons.

Buffalo proposed that the head official on the field be relieved of the responsibility of reviewing all reviewable or challenged plays during a game. They want it left to the replay booth official upstairs.

“We did make that proposal and I hope it passes,” Bills GM Buddy Nix said on SiriusXM NFL Radio. “It makes a lot of sense to us. One thing is it saves time. (The referee) doesn’t have to go through the show of going over and putting the hood on and pretending like you’re in the CIA or something. We think it’ll speed it up and we also think it takes some of the pressure off of the officials.

“If the referee makes the call and has to go under the hood and has to come out and say, ‘I missed it.’ It bothers some guys. None of them intentionally, but it does make it a little harder and awkward for them. So we think a guy ought to be there and be the replay guy. (Our proposal) gives you a lot of relief in a lot of areas.”

We should know if the proposal is passed in the coming days.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills submit rule change proposal

Posted by Chris Brown on March 22, 2012 – 8:42 am

At next week’s owner’s meetings in Palm Beach, Florida the NFL’s Competition Committee will go over proposed rule changes. One of the proposed changes was submitted by the Buffalo Bills.

The Bills have proposed that the instant replay official upstairs in the booth make all the decisions on plays under review rather than the head official on the field. The intention of the proposal is to speed up the game and not have the referee have to go over to the sideline watch several angles of the play in question under the hood and get on the headset and then make a decision and return to the field.

Some of the other more notable proposals are

  • Expansion of the playoff overtime rule in which each team gets one possession (unless the initial possession results in a touchdown) into the regular season.
  • Allow one injured player on each team to be put on an injured reserve status that would not be season-ending.
  • Change the 12-men-on-the-field penalty so that it becomes dead ball. Once it’s obvious to the officials that one of the two teams is going to have 12 or more players on the field, the officials will throw a flag and blow the play dead. The intent is to prevent teams from running down the clock by purposely putting 12 men on the field and taking the penalty.
  • Expand automatic review to include all turnover plays. Last season, every scoring play was reviewed by the instant replay official.
  • Expand the horse collar penalty to include such plays that are made on the quarterback in the pocket. They’ve been previously exempt from being flagged as part of the rule.
  • Extend the trading deadline from Week 6 to Week 8.
  • Expand the offseason roster from 80 to 90 with unsigned draft choices counting toward the new total. Right now they don’t.  

Posted in Inside the Bills

Rules changes update

Posted by Chris Brown on May 24, 2011 – 11:31 am

Here’s a rundown of the rules changes that were approved by the League’s Competition Committee and subsequently the owners at their meetings in Indianapolis this week.

They deal chiefly with the defenseless player and defenders that launch themselves at ball carriers. Players that launch their bodies into ball carriers will not only result in a 15-yard penalty, but said player could be ejected from the game for such hits. The definition of the defenseless player was also expanded by the Competition Committee. has provided the full list of additions.

Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 12-10

Posted by Chris Brown on December 10, 2010 – 2:09 pm

Could be a winter weather mess on Sunday for Bills-Browns. In the meantime we answer your questions from

1 – Chris,
With everyone buzzing about Andrew Luck being the Bills quarterback of the future, I have two questions.  My first question is, how are Levi Brown and Brian Brohm looking?  My understanding is that the Bills released Trent Edwards to give more snaps to these young guys and see what they are capable of.  So before start saving up for my Andrew Luck jersey, do you think Brown or Brohm have a chance at stepping up into the role of “the future”?  Second question, As well as Fitz has played, I don’t believe he is the long term solution.  BUT, Do you think he is good enough that the Bills will not draft a QB in the first round?  Instead draft a defensive stud like Marcell Dareus (Alabama) to help in the 3-4?
Bob in Jacksonville, FL
(Rochester native)

CB: I think you can count on GM Buddy Nix not pigeon-holing himself into taking a QB no matter what with Buffalo’s top pick. Luck is the pick if he’s on the board. He’s about as sure a thing to come along since Peyton Manning in terms of NFL success. Not saying he’s going to be him, but Peyton had similar sure fire success written all over him when he came out.

Trent Edwards was not cut to give Brohm and Brown more opportunities. He was cut because he wasn’t the answer. Just because he is not doesn’t mean that Brohm and Brown necessarily are. They have to prove that on the field in practice.

I think there’s some upside to Brown, who still has a lot to learn. Brohm I think showed he’s capable in the preseason. But I don’t know that either of them are the future long term starter for this team.

Fitz has done well for himself this season and could help this team in that role again next season (he’s signed through 2011), but adding a top flight quarterback prospect is still a priority for this franchise in the short term.

Again that doesn’t guarantee that the Bills will take one early. That will depend on how the board falls and who they feel is worth an investment that high in the draft. Luck may prove to be the only worthy candidate in that situation, especially knowing Buffalo has several other positional needs (pass rushing LB, OT, ILB, etc.)

2 – Chris,
Watched the Steelers game and was impressed by Alex Carrington’s play.  Looked like he got a good push off the edge, worked well on containment and pretty much held up his end, especially given the amount of playing time he has had.  Do you see the same things and do you see him getting more playing time during the rest of the season?
As always, appreciate your insights.
Macungie, Pa.

CB: As Chan Gailey has said from the start, Carrington is a bit further along as a rookie against the pass because sacking the quarterback was something he did particularly well at Arkansas State. This is the first time he’s playing in a 3-4, so that’s been an adjustment for him.
Gailey feels he needs to improve against the run a bit, and with Dwan Edwards now lost for the season he’s going to get a lot of valuable experience on the field. I really liked him coming out and I think this kid can be an anchor at end for this team for a long time.

3 – Chris,
I am an avid Bills fan from West Virginia!! (originally from Buffalo). You have been a very big supporter of Lee Evans, and I agree with you that he is a talent!  Would you agree that he may be similar to Trent Edwards in that he demonstrates his physical talent in practice and disappears on game day?  I don’t like that they pay him elite money, and he doesn’t produce as you’d expect.  

With the emergence of Steve Johnson, Donald Jones, and with Roscoe Parrish and youngster Marcus Easley returning next year, do you see any chance that they unload Evans for a low round draft choice just to free up future cap space to reinvest in our front 7 or o-line?  
Thank you and I look forward to hearing your responses!
Jim Eimer

CB: Jim you raise an interesting point. Stevie Johnson’s emergence has unfortunately shed a new light on Lee Evans’ production. He does have trouble getting consistent separation against bump and run coverage and opponents know this. What was once a position of perceived weakness is rounding into a pretty deep group.

As you astutely point out, Easley will return next year and was turning heads in the spring and early in training camp. However, unloading Evans at his current contract level (near $9M per season) would be supremely difficult.
4 – Chris,

Is the NFL Competition Committee going to look at this ridiculous “icing the kicker” stunt, that is employed by NFL coaches, after the season? Time out is called for no other reason than to make the field goal kicker kick the ball a second time -in the hope that he will miss.
It is really not fair to call time out after the kicker has gone through his motion and the ball is in the air. Something needs to be done about this!

CB: I supposed it’s possible that it will be looked at a bit closer now that more coaches are making use of the timeout prior to the snap of the ball. But I’ve talked to Rian Lindell at length about this and he maintains it’s a non-issue for kickers. Here’s what he said about opposing coaches forcing you to kick it a second time with the timeout call.

“It really is a little like golf if you get to re-tee it after the first shot,” said Lindell. “I would think the second shot would probably be better. You get to see how the ball travels if the wind is blowing and if it’s carrying well. And there’s enough time there to go to the sideline and then come back on.

“I think fans believe that we’re obsessing over the kick through the whole timeout, but really I’ve been thinking about that kick since the offense got the ball. It’s not just all of a sudden I’m spending extra time thinking about it. So an extra 30 seconds is not a big deal.”

Lindell has said that other kickers in the league feel the same way. If you remember the only reason he missed that second 53-yarder against Kansas City was because his foot hit the ground before the ball and catching all that dirt slowed the momentum of his follow through. And that kick still hit the upright.

Personally I don’t like it. It cheapens the game, but if kickers don’t mind it, I don’t think it’s going away.

5 – Hi Chris,

I am curious about the nature of football players like Shawn Nelson and Percy Harvin having migraines. Is this football related or genetics? It would be great if you could shed some light on this. Thanks!
Much appreciated.

Stephen A. Naetzker

CB: Being a migraine sufferer myself (2-4 a year), which is not even close to those that Harvin or Nelson experience, I know a little bit about migraines. First of all, research has shown that migraine headaches are often hereditary and affect three times as many women as men.

If one parent has these severe headaches, children have a 50 percent chance of also having them. If both parents have migraines, the chance for a child to be predisposed to migraines goes up 75 percent. Even if a distant relative has migraine headaches, a 20 percent chance exists that any offspring will be prone to migraine headaches.

In talking with Shawn I know his mother suffered from migraine headaches so he was at increased risk to have them as well.

But there are a lot of triggers for migraines as well , such as stress , change in the weather, changes in air pressure (flying in planes), bright sunlight, flickering light from TVs or computers, odors or fumes and eating habits.

As you see there’s a wide range of triggers and migraines themselves range widely in severity. Just know that migraines are now classified as a chronic illness, not a headache. They’re not fun and they can be extremely debilitating. Hope that helps.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Why NFL overtime could see change

Posted by Chris Brown on March 17, 2010 – 3:24 pm

With the NFL’s Competition Committee set to bring new rule proposals to the table at the league meetings next week, the one getting the most attention is the change to the league’s overtime.

Atlanta Falcons team President Rich McKay heads up the Competition Committee confirmed the new overtime proposal will be presented, but only for postseason use.

“We will propose a rule on the modification of the sudden death procedure in overtime,” McKay said in a conference call Wednesday. “We will say that we would like to have it where there would be an opportunity to possess in the event the first team with the ball does not score a touchdown.”

So if the team that wins the coin toss and possesses the ball first only kicks a field goal, their opponent would have an opportunity for a possession as well. The main reason this was the route the Competition Committee chose was due to the dramatic rise in the percentage of first possession overtime victories by way of a field goal over the past 35 years.

McKay cited the following statistics. From 1974 (when overtime was instituted) to 1993 there was a dead even split between teams that won the coin toss and teams that lost the coin toss. Teams that won the coin toss during that span won the game 46.8% of the time. Teams that lost the coin toss won the game 46.8% of the time.

But the Competition Committee found that from 1994-2009 the teams that won the coin toss during that span won the game 59.8% of the time and teams that lost the coin toss won the game only 35.8% of the time.

That’s a 13 percent shift in the numbers making what was once a dead even number going off the coin toss into a 20 percent edge to the team that’s winning the coin toss.

McKay says the edge was caused mainly by the improved kicking percentage of today’s kickers from long distance and the improved field position for receiving teams with kickoffs taking place at the 30-yard line instead of where kickoffs used to be, which was the 35.

So by not allowing overtime games to end when the team with first possession kicks a field goal, the Competition Committee is hoping to even those percentages again between the team that wins and loses the coin toss.

Whether it encourages teams with the first possession to go for it instead of trying to kick a field goal remains to be seen. I would think if you have a team with a dominant defense, you would still kick the field goal and rely on your defense to stop the opponent when they get their possession. Beyond that it’s anyone’s guess.

McKay also clarified that if the team that has the ball first kicks a FG and the other team (under this rule) gets their possession and kicks a FG, then it’s pure sudden death after that. First team to score next wins.

What do you think of this proposal?

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