NFL mulling changes to replay rule, others

02/21/2013 10:43 PM ET
By Matt Hughes
The NFL is looking at key rule changes for next season. Changes on instant-replay challenges and helmet contact are among the rules being considered. 

As reported by the AP, the rule changes are being discussed at this week's competition committee meetings. 

The change to the instant replay rule was sparked by a call in the Detroit Lions' Thanksgiving Day game against the Houston Texans. Head coach Jim Schwartz was assessed a 15-yard penalty after challenging a Justin Forsett touchdown run. The replay clearly showed Forsett was down by contact on the play, but because all scoring plays are automatically reviewed, Schwartz was penalized and the review was negated. The league wants to close the loophole in this rule.

Player safety is the other primary issue being discussed, including protecting players on both sides of the ball from helmet contact. The proposed rule changes would prevent running backs and wide receivers from leading with their helmet to drive the ball forward. Another rule would eliminate the type of rolling chop-block that knocked Texans linebacker Brian Cushing out for the season with a left knee injury.

Formations on field goals and extra-point kicks are also being discussed. 

The NFL competition committee consists of club personnel, including coaches, general managers and owners. The committee is meeting in Indianapolis this week leading up to the scouting combine.

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