Among the several potential rule changes that will be discussed at next week’s owners meetings is one that would give teams far less time to break a tie in an extra frame and one that will finally significantly alter the officiating program.
The NFL’s competition committee is set to propose a shortened overtime rule, which would cut the additional quarter in regular season and preseason games from 15 minutes to 10, according to NFL.com’s Judy Battista.
The competition committee will also recommend the league hires full-time officials for the 2017 season, a source told ESPN’s Kevin Seifert.
Overtime periods in the playoffs would reportedly remain at 15 minutes, but that’s less of a factor considering a winner must be determined in all such situations. The NFL approving the amendment would increase the odds of regular-season ties, and that can be considered a drawback.
As Battista adds, though, the idea is to avoid the situation where teams are on short weeks and have to play a full additional quarter.
The move to full-time officials has long been considered an inevitability in order to combat the increasing pressure put on referees in the modern NFL. The league’s CBA with officials allows the NFL to convert them to full-time roles, but most officials have resisted the change.
Seifert notes that the recommendation would be for officials to be allowed to phase into the program before it became mandatory by the start of the 2020 season.
Rule changes have to be approved by a vote among league owners, where at least 24 of 32 are in favor.
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