It was a busy day at the NFL Owners Meetings in Phoenix, Arizona, with the 32 teams voting on a laundry list of rules (full list of rules that passed). And Steelers' President Art Rooney II was pleased with how the vote went.
The rule that bans the 'leap' block on field goal and extra point plays was passed. In addition, the rule that replaces the sideline replay monitor with a hand-held device and authorizes designated members of the officiating department to make the final decision on replay reviews passed.
"Some of the player-safety rules that I think were important passed," said Rooney. "The banning of the 'leaper' on extra points and field goals - that passed. The new replay rule passed, so that the decisions will be made in New York and the referee will only come over to the sideline with a tablet. So I think that's one of the rules that will help speed up the game. I think most of the things we were in favor of ended up passing."
Fans are accustomed to seeing the referee go 'under the hood,' to look at the replay, but that will be no more and the decision to go in that direction was an easy one for the owners, who have been told it will save a minute and a half per replay.
"There wasn't a lot of discussion," said Rooney. "I think there were a couple of questions about who is actually in the room up there making the decision, things like that. But the truth of the matter is that I think the league office has been staffed to do this for the last couple of years. So for them, I don't think it's going to be a major change from what they've already been doing. It will just be the fact that they do have the final decision now."
The owners, who wrapped up their meetings a day early, will meet again in May and revisit the overtime rule that was tabled this time. The rule would shorten overtime from 15 minutes to 10 minutes in the preseason and regular season.
"One of the discussions was about if the team that wins the toss has a nine-minute drive and kicks a field goal, the other team will supposedly have a chance to get the ball," said Rooney. "But maybe they have a minute or less. So there was some discussion about the equity of that part of the rule. But I think for the most part, the safety concerns are what are going to be persuasive."
Rooney also weighed in on other topics:
On three teams, Chargers, Raiders and Rams, relocating in two years:
"I think it is something we have to look at. Obviously, we don't want to see teams relocating on a regular basis. I certainly hope we don't have any situations like that in the near future. I don't think we do. But I think it's fair to say we need to look at that to make sure we're doing everything we can to try to make sure the teams are staying in their home markets."
On international games: "We had an international session today. The international committee made a presentation. It's gone well. The games in London have been well received. The game in Mexico last year did well. So I think the plans are to continue to try to expand that effort. China has been discussed; Germany has been discussed. So those are probably two of the ones that have at least had some discussion."