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NFL mulling rules changes to OT, IR

If, during the 2012 regular season, a player who had already been on injured reserve is on the field as the 12th man with his team trailing by 3 in overtime and the penalty is reviewed by an official in the booth, we can all look back on today as a seminal moment in rules forging.

Those are some of the changes to the NFL’s rules and bylaws that the league’s Competition Committee proposed during a conference call today. The suggestions will face the full vote of ownership at league meetings in Florida next week. Twenty-four of the 32 teams will have to approve of the changes for them to become rules.

Here’s a look at what the league is contemplating:

Changing the overtime rules during the regular season so they match the ones in the postseason. As it is now, teams that are tied after regulation in the regular season play one sudden-death period and the first team to score, wins. In the playoffs, if a team scores a touchdown on the first possession of overtime, it wins. But if it scores a field goal, the opposing team gets one possession to either re-tie the score or win it with a touchdown.

Making a penalty for 12 (or more I suppose) men on the field a dead ball foul. This stems from a play in the Super Bowl in which the Giants had 12 men on the field and the Patriots ran a play that cost them time on the clock. The new rule would keep the penalty at five yards but stop the play immediately like a false start.

Allowing teams to bring players off injured reserve in some capacity. This would allow teams to use the roster spot for an injured player while he heals but not necessarily lose him for the entire season. That would have been helpful in a situation like Prince Amukamara’s last year, where he broke his foot in the preseason.

The Committee also wants to have replays viewed by an official in the booth and not by the referee under a hood on the field. It would also like to have all turnovers automatically reviewed, just as it legislated last season that all scoring plays be reviewed.

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