NFL adopts host of rules changes for 2017 season


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Sending the Raiders from Oakland to Las Vegas wasn’t the only thing that got accomplished by NFL owners this week in Phoenix. On Tuesday they passed several rules changes, adopting resolutions they believe will speed the game and enhance player safety, and perhaps even allow for more personality in player celebrations.

Among the highlights are:

-Players are no long allowed to leap over the offensive line while attempting to block field goals or extra points.

- The NFL also extended bringing touchbacks out to the 25-yard line for another year.

-Made permanent the rule disqualifying a player who is penalized twice in a game for specific unsportsmanlike conduct fouls.

-There is no more “going under the hood.” Referees will now watch replays on the field using Surface tablets. League officiating chief Dean Blandino and his staff in New York will make the final decisions on those calls, with input from the referee, who in the past was the ultimate arbiter after consulting with league headquarters.

"We've been doing this for three seasons, since 2014," Blandino said of the centralized reviews. "It's worked in the replay process."

Blandino, who has two assistants who also can make the final decisions at the officiating headquarters, said he has no concern about being undermanned during a heavy schedule.

-For fans hoping that rules limiting player celebrations would lightened, that discussion has been tabled for now.

-Crackback blocks by a backfield player who goes in motion are now banned.

- Teams will now be allowed to interview or hire an employee of another team during the season if the other team consents.