Atlanta Falcons President & CEO,
NFL Competition Committee Chairman Rich McKay
NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Ray Anderson
St. Louis Rams Head Coach & Competition Committee member Jeff Fisher
NFL ANNUAL MEETING CONFERENCE CALL
March 14, 2013
Rich McKay: As we have done in years past, we’ll go through the rules. We’ve got six proposals this year and then there are three bylaws. The committee met for 12 days between Indianapolis and Naples, but the process always starts the same, which is a survey that we give to all of the clubs; ask them a lot of questions; ask them about potential rule proposals; and likewise, get their input on any ideas they may have. That was very productive for us. We also meet with the NFLPA and a number of players in Indianapolis. We got some of the ideas there and we get their ideas. In fact, there is a rule proposal that they were clearly focused on this year along with the coaches subcommittee. The ideas can come from anywhere. We’re just the ones that try to sort them out and get them in written form.
The primary focus of our committee and for the league for that matter with respect to the field, is first and foremost player safety and second, maintaining competitive balance. With respect to player safety, we have three player safety rule changes that we’ll propose this year. I always like to start by putting those into context. In 2011, the membership voted to change the kickoff rule from the 30 to the 35 thus reducing the number of kickoff returns. What is nice is that there was a lot of scrutiny given to that rule change. There was a lot of concern that it would hurt the quality of the game, might affect field position and a major concern that it would affect scoring. I think the nice thing is that in 2012, one of the most memorable plays of the year was the Ravens’ Jacoby Jones’ 108-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the Super Bowl and scoring this year at 45.5 points per game. 45.5 points per game is the highest since 1965 and the fourth highest in NFL history. A lot of credit goes to our coaches and our players who always seem to do a really good job of dealing with the evolution of our rules as they are implemented for player safety purposes.
On the competitive balance side, I think our results speak for themselves. This year, the Ravens were our eighth different Super Bowl champion in the last 10 years. One fact that we like is that in the last five years, we’ve had 24 different division champions and in the last five years, we’ve had 26 different teams qualify for the playoffs. Competitive balance from our perspective is at a very good place when it comes to the National Football League.
Our rules proposals can come from different areas: one is player safety; two is we need to maintain a level playing field and have to change a rule for that; three is the first one we’re going to address which is to address a new tactic or anomaly that appeared and that we didn’t contemplate in the rule book.
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