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MORSE: NFL Adopts New Rules for 2024

Mark Morse
Mark Morse on Twitter
March 28, 2024 at 11:36 am ET

MORSE: NFL Adopts New Rules for 2024(PHOTO: HAL HABIB / The Palm Beach Post / USA TODAY NETWORK)

🕑 Read Time: 4 minutes

At the League meetings this week in Orlando, the NFL adopted several new rule changes.  The two most controversial changes were the new kickoff rule and attempt to eliminate the “Hip Drop” tackle.  Here are the major changes:

Emergency Quarterback Changes

Emergency third quarterbacks, who are available to play in case the starter and the backup are ejected or injured, can now be elevated from both the 53-man roster and the practice squad. Last season, emergency QBs could only be elevated from the 53-man roster.  Would Maik Cunningham still be here if this rule was adopted last year?

Unlimited Returns in postseason

Teams now have an unlimited number of designated-to-return transactions during the playoffs.

Replay Changes

The replay assistant will now be allowed to correct objectively incorrect calls for intentional grounding and roughing the passer.

Replay review will be allowed when there is clear and obvious visual evidence that the game clock expired before any snap.

The ruling that a passer is down by contact or out of bounds before throwing a pass is now a reviewable play.

Enforcing fouls commuted during possession change

During a play that results in a possession change, if both teams commit fouls, any major offensive fouls (like unnecessary roughness) that were committed before the possession change will now be enforced.

Changes to Coaches Challenge

Initially, teams would have to get both their first and second challenges right to get a third one, but now they only need to get one challenge correctly to earn a third.

NFL Trade Deadline will be moved back a week

The trade deadline will now be the Tuesday after Week nine games. The Browns wanted it to be after Week 10, but that wasn’t approved.

Hip Drop tackle banned

per Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The official wording of what a hip drop tackle is as follows:

“It is a foul if the players uses the following technique to bring a runner to the ground:

(a) grabs the runner with both hands or wraps the runner with both arms; and
(b) unweights himself by swiveling and dropping his hips and/or lower body, landing on and trapping the runner’s leg(s) at or below the knee.”

Kickoff change

If you liked what you saw with the XFL Kickoff rule then you will love this change.  We will see more kickoff returns this season, and they will be modeled after the way the XFL does its kickoffs.

There are restraints on where you can kick the ball and penalties if you don’t.

This from Ben Goessling of the Minneapolis Star Tribune is a good explanation of the new kickoff rules.  Under the new rules, the kicker will continue kicking from the 35-yard line, while the other 10 members of the kicking team will line up at the receiving team’s 40-yard line. The receiving team will put at least nine players in a setup zone between its 30- and 35-yard line, with one or two returners in a “landing zone” between the goal line and the 20-yard line. Until the ball hits the ground or a player, no one other than the kicker or returner is permitted to move.

The change, which was approved on a trial basis for 2024, comes after years of discussion over the future of the kickoff, as the NFL sought to reduce injury rates from the play and more teams kicked the ball out of the end zone. Only 21.7% of kickoffs were returned in 2023, the lowest rate in league history. With the new play, competition committee chair Rich McKay said Tuesday, return rates could be as high as 80-90%.

Teams will be permitted to attempt two onside kicks per game but will not be able to attempt surprise onside kicks. Touchbacks will move from the 25 to the 30-yard line, though McKay said the rule could eventually change to place the ball at 35 after a touchback.

Saints special team’s coordinator Darren Rizzi, who worked closely with Cowboys special team’s coordinator John Fassel on the rule change, called it “a great day for the NFL.”

“We’ve taken a play that’s essentially been dying over the course of the last few years, and in our opinion, we’ve revived it,” he said. “The fact we felt like we can make this play a lot safer, and certainly more exciting for everybody, were the two main factors.”

This from Associated Press Josh Dubrow – While the changes were all overwhelmingly approved, they don’t come without some level of controversy, with many players opposing the ban on the use of the “swivel hip-drop” and many questions about how the rules will be enforced and the impact they will have on games.

NFL defensive players feel the rule changes of recent years make it more difficult for them to do their jobs.  One complaint I read was that defenders want the chop block removed if the league truly wants to improve player safety.

The most significant change revolves around the kickoff that has gone from one of the more exciting plays like Jalen Reagor’s Kick Off Return TD last season.   Players like former Patriot Cordarelle Patterson, who signed a 2 year $6M contract with Pittsburgh, are unsure of their future.  What will be the impact of this rule change?

Of all the rule changes I like the Replay Change where the review official can make the change of call.  Bottom line is to get the call right.

Thursday Patriots Notebook 3/28: News and Notes

About Mark Morse

Merrimack Valley native and lifelong fan of the New England Patriots. My earliest memories of the Patriots were attending as a child with my dad, the off-season practice at Phillips Academy. I was at the Patriots game at Harvard Stadium in 1970 where Bob “Harpo” Gladieux was called out of the stands by the stadium announcer over the PA to play in the game. Analyzing the draft since ESPN first started to televise it in 1980 and former writer for the Lowell Sun Newspaper.

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