Saturday, April 05, 2008

NFL Rule Changes for 2008 May Reduce Penalties

Many newspapers are reporting on changes in the NFL rules. Strange, there doesn't seem to be an announcement about this from the NFL itself on the NFL web site. I guess they expect fans to catch up by reading the newspapers and hearing second-hand.

Rule changes that may affect the number of penalties include:
  • No 5-yard penalty for incidental facemask infractions.
  • Allowing one defensive player to have a communicating device with the coaches.
According to AP football writer Barry Wilner, allowing a defender to communicate with the coaches might lead to less penalties. According to the chairman of the Arena Football League's rules and competition committee, when they changed the rules to allow a defender to communicate with the coaches, there were more defensive stops and less penalties. Barry Wilner wrote that there was, surprisingly, an increase in scoring.

If that's correct, there might be slightly less penalties called this year. But we might still have the same distribution of penalties among the referee crews (the ones that regularly call more penalties might still be near the tops in penalties, although calling a little less than last year).

Post your thoughts and predictions for next year's penalty rate.


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