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NFL rule changes: Owners pass "Beckham Rule," make several other changes

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A review of the rule changes approved at the owners' meeting

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The annual NFL owners meeting is wrapping up Wednesday today and like every year the owners discused proposed rule changes for the coming season.

This year they approved nine rule changes, headlined by what is being called "Beckham Rule".

This rule, which will be a one-year trial, says that if a player is charged with two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties -- striking or taunting an opposing player -- they will be ejected from the game. It is obviously a reference to devolved into a brawl between Odell Beckham and Josh Norman.

The owners also made all chop blocks illegal, a rule change that former New York Giants offensive lineman Shaun O'Hara weighed in on.

There were also a pair of rule changes to the kicking game. First, after the success of the change to the extra point last year, the owners permanently moved the ball placement to the 15-yard line. In a change to kickoffs, a touchback will now spot the ball at the 25-yard line, as in college.

The kickoff rule is intended to reduce kick returns and improve player safety, but coaches have voiced the concern that teams will try to land kickoffs short of the goal line and force teams to return them.

The other rule changes are as follows:

  • By Competition Committee; Permits the offensive and defensive play callers on the coaching staffs to use the coach-to-player communication system regardless of whether they are on the field or in the coaches' booth
  • By Competition Committee; Expands the horse collar rule to include when a defender grabs the jersey at the name plate or above and pulls a runner toward the ground.
  • By Competition Committee; Makes it a foul for delay of game when a team attempts to call a timeout when it is not permitted to do so.
  • By Competition Committee; Eliminates the five-yard penalty for an eligible receiver illegally touching a forward pass after being out of bounds and re-establishing himself inbounds, and makes it a loss of down.
  • By Competition Committee; Eliminates multiple spots of enforcement for a double foul after a change of possession.