The NFL Competition Committee (with newly extended Colts GM Bill Polian (tip to Bullard47)), will meet next week to discuss various things around the league. Here are a few of the more interesting items: (A complete list can be found here from FOXSports.com.)
Winning your division may not guarantee you a home playoff game. The two division winners with the best records will still be given the bye. However, seeds 3-6 would then be seeded by the best record, regardless of whether they won their division or not. The first tie-breaker would then be a division title.
This rule would have made the playoffs last season much different. The Jaguars would have been hosting the Steelers, and the Buccaneers would have visited Giants Stadium on the opening weekend. I'm guessing that the Giants are pretty glad that wasn't in effect already. I think this is a very good idea, as it will reward teams with better records with home games. In most instances, teams with better records without winning their division will have played a tougher schedule. This would definitely be the case for the Giants and Jaguars last year. Teams should not be "rewarded" with a better record against better teams with a road trip based strictly on geography.
Commissioner Goodell wants to take more actions to ensure "SpyGate" doesn't happen again. He wants more authority to punish teams if they are caught "spying." He also wants someone high up in each organization to, in essence, sign a contract saying they have followed all NFL rules and regulations. This seems good on the surface, but will it really help? What will the punishment be if it is found out that they did, in fact, break a rule? It seems like something he's doing to remove himself from any blame. It makes sense, since he is getting a good amount of scrutiny over the Patriots situation.
Along these same lines, they will be voting again on whether to allow a defensive player to wear a wireless receiver, like a quarterback does. This makes perfect sense, and should have been 5 years ago. All owners who vote against this should be called out for being a proponent of spying. I hope this is unanimous.
It will be illegal for a player's hair to cover up their name. This is making the biggest news of all of these changes. They will claim it is a safety precaution. However, I can only think of one instance where a player was actually tackled by his hair, and here is the video.
Current Colts that may have their hair tucked in, or cut off include Defensive Player of the Year Bob Sanders, Clint Session, and Anthony Gonzalez (I just had an image of him with corn rows. The shaved head is definitely the way to go).
- No longer having a "force-out" rule of catches on the sideline. The new rule would be very cut and dry: Two feet in-bounds, or it is incomplete. This takes some of the subjectivity out of the officials hands, and makes for a simpler rule. My guess is this will lead to more pass interference calls along the sideline, as defenders try to knock receivers out of bounds before they can get their feet down. I do not think this will pass.
- Officials will be able to review a field goal with instant replay. This is obviously stemming from the Browns - Ravens game from last season. Makes sense, and should pass.
- Teams will be able to defer until the second half. College teams take advantage of this most of the time, except for those coached by former NFL coaches (Charlie Weis has only deferred 1 time in 3 years.) I don't see many teams doing this, and I really don't see the Colts doing this. It seemed we played much better with the ball first. Teams seemed to have a habit of taking the opening kickoff and keeping the ball for 6-7 minutes.
- All nationally televised games will be announced. I'm guessing we'll have 4 or 5 games on national TV, including New England, Jacksonville, and San Diego. I'm hoping we aren't playing a Monday night game in Green Bay in December.