Rick, Dave and Steve take on the upcoming 2014 NFL season discussing new rules, extra point experiment, Hall Of Fame inductees and season predictions. Are you ready for some football?
1. Hall of Fame inductees and Hall of Fame game
2. Rick is heading to Green Bay Packer training camp in 10 days
3. Rule changes
1. Defensive holding
Defensive holding will be a big point of emphasis during the 2014 season. It used to be the case that if a defensive back grabbed hold of a receiver’s jersey and it didn’t affect the play, he could get away with it. That will no longer be the case in 2014. After observing Buffalo Bills practice last week, Walt Anderson, NFL Director of Officials said he expects to have to throw the flag for defensive holding quite a bit.
2. Illegal contact
Similar to defensive holding, the rules have been tweaked a bit for illegal contact. The rule used to state that if the quarterback was in the process of throwing to the opposite side of the field from which the illegal contact is taking place, or if the quarterback was in the process of being sacked, the referee would not throw the flag for illegal contact. Now, as long as the quarterback is in the pocket, illegal contact can be called.
It’s a particularly tough rule for officials to keep track of, because once they notice the illegal contact, they need to direct their attention to the quarterback to determine whether a flag should be thrown.
3. Fumbles now reviewable even if officials didn’t see it
It used to be that if a fumble in the field of play hadn’t been called by an official, you couldn’t review it. It happened in the NFC championship between the Seahawks and 49ers. The play will now be reviewable. Like any other booth review, officials will need to see clear evidence of a recovery in order to overturn a call, but this will definitely come into play at some point during the season.
4. Extra point experiment
During the first few weeks of the preseason, including the Hall of Fame Game, the NFL will be experimenting with a new rule for extra points. The ball will now be placed at the 20-yard line rather than the 2-yard line in order to make for a more challenging kick. If a team elects to go for a two-point conversion, they will be able to do so from the 2-yard line. This rule is still only in the experimental phase, so don’t be alarmed when you see it early in the preseason.
“The NFL will use Zebra Technologies’ real-time location system in 17 stadiums during the 2014 season. The tech will track position, speed, and distance, sending it first to RFID receivers around the arena and then to a database where the NFL is envisioning new uses for the data. Zebra, which is better known for building asset-tracking tech for Fortune 500 companies, will install the receivers in the 15 stadiums that host Thursday Night Football games (Atlanta, Baltimore, Carolina, Chicago, Cincinnati, Denver, Green Bay, Houston, Jacksonville, Miami, New England, Oakland, San Francisco, St. Louis, Washington) as well as in Detroit and New Orleans. The data will be captured from all 32 teams and presumably will be shared among them.”
5. NFL predictions – go on the record