The Chiefs have submitted two rules proposals for discussion at next week’s NFL owners’ meetings, the NFL announced Thursday.
The first is to add penalty yards to the distance needed to gain a first down, while the second is to prohibit quarterbacks from falling to the ground, getting up, and throwing a forward pass.
The Chiefs submitted the first proposal because teams are incentivized to commit offensive or special-teams penalties deep in their own territory because the reward greatly outweighs the risk.
“They must have had a couple instances this year that, obviously, they didn’t feel like was competitively fair,” competition committee chairman Rich McKay said. “It involves trying to march off yardage and then moving the sticks so that the full enforcement of the penalty occurs.”
For instance, under the current rules, if an offensive lineman commits a holding penalty on first-and-10 at his own 10-yard line, the penalty would be half the distance to the goal, which would result in a first-and-15 instead of a typical first-and-20.
Under the Chiefs’ proposal, the offending penalty would still move back 5 yards, but there would also be an additional 5 yards tacked on to the distance, still making the next play first and 20.
The second proposal is self-explanatory, McKay said, as it would prohibit quarterbacks from passing the ball on a given play after they’ve fallen to the ground. The quarterback could still be a legal runner afterward, however.
“It probably goes to the play that we saw, which is the play when Peyton Manning, I think, fell to the ground and then still threw the ball,” McKay said.
Under the current rules, quarterbacks are incentivized to play dead without officially giving themselves up after they’ve fallen to the ground. Defenders — who still need to touch them down — have a tendency to let up at that point due to the league’s newer player-safety rules.
Sometimes simply touching the quarterback down isn’t an option, since the defenders are coming after the quarterback hard. That puts defenders in the position of touching the QB down and risking the penalty, or not continuing the rush and letting the quarterback rise and make a throw.
NFL teams receive a memo from the league that invites them to submit rules proposals before the owners meetings. The Chiefs did not submit a proposal last year.
“Then they work with the league office to make sure that when they put the proposals forward, that language-wise, they work,” McKay said.
Overall, there are 19 rule proposals that will be discussed at the owners’ meeting, which takes place Sunday through Wednesday in Boca Raton, Fla. Of those 19, 10 were proposed by teams, while the remaining nine were proposed by the NFL’s competition committee.