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Detroit Lions propose 4 rule changes for the 2023 season

The Lions found themselves as very active participants in suggestions for changing the rulebook.

Detroit Lions vs Minnesota Vikings Photo by Amy Lemus/NurPhoto via Getty Images

On Monday afternoon, the NFL announced the 2023 player rules, bylaws, and resolutions changes that were submitted by individual teams this year. In total, there were nine new rule proposals, two new bylaw proposals, and four resolution proposals. If you want to see them all, you can click here.

However, more interestingly, the Detroit Lions were responsible for four of the total submissions: three rule proposals and a bylaw proposal. Let’s take a closer look at each of the proposed changes.

Rule proposal No. 4 — Expand the coaches’ challenge system to include personal fouls called on the field.

This one is pretty self-evident. The Lions are simply looking to add personal fouls to the list of items challengeable by coaches. Here’s the specific language they’re pitching for the rulebook:

ARTICLE 11. PERSONAL FOULS. A challenge involving a personal foul, as listed in Rule 12, Section 2, may only be initiated by a Head Coach when such a foul is called on the field. If the challenge is successful, the personal foul, as identified by the challenging Head Coach, is nullified.

Rule proposal No. 5 — To provide clubs with more opportunities for a third challenge.

This proposal is very simple. Currently, teams are given two challenges. If they win both challenges, they are awarded a third. The Lions are proposing an alteration to that. Detroit’s rule change states that if a team wins either challenge, they should be awarded a third.

Here, again, is the language alteration they’re pitching in the rulebook:

A team will be permitted a third challenge if it is successful on at least one both of its challenges. A fourth challenge will not be permitted.

Rule proposal No. 6 — Expand the Replay Official’s jurisdiction to allow for consultation regarding penalty assessment.

Currently, Replay Officials can stop play to correct “clear and obvious” mistakes on the field. However, the types of plays they are allowed to change are limited to the following options:

  • (a) penalty enforcement;
  • (b) the proper down;
  • (c) spot of a foul;
  • (d) the game clock;
  • (e) possession;
  • (f) completed or intercepted pass;
  • (g) touching of a loose ball, boundary line, goal line or end line;
  • (h) location of the football or a player in relation to the boundary line, the line of scrimmage, the line to gain, or the goal line; or
  • (i) down by contact (when a player is not ruled down by contact on the field)

The Lions are proposing a 10th item that can be altered by the Replay Official—overturning a penalty involving the position of the player:

  • (j) a foul that has been called involving the position of a player or action at, beyond, or behind a specific distance from the line of scrimmage.

As for the bylaw proposal, that involves bringing back an old rule that was abolished in 2011. The Lions are proposing allowing a third emergency quarterback on game days that won’t count against the active game day list. Here is the exact wording of the proposal:

Each club may also designate one emergency third quarterback from its Inactive List or Practice Squad, who will be eligible to be activated during the game, if, and only if, the club’s first two quarterbacks on its game day Active List are ruled “Out” for the remainder of the game due to injury or disqualification. If the designated emergency quarterback is activated, neither of the club’s first two quarterbacks may re-enter the game, even if they are subsequently cleared of injury or if the third quarterback becomes injured and cannot continue to play. A club will not be eligible to use these procedures if it carries three quarterbacks on its game day Active List. Any emergency third quarterback activated from the Practice Squad will be treated as a Standard Elevation as defined in Article 33, Section 5 of the NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement, except the elevation will not count against the club’s three regular season elevations for the player and the elevation will not count against the club’s two elevations per game. Any quarterback on a club’s Practice Squad is required to be listed on the club’s game status injury report. An activated emergency third quarterback may not participate at a position other than quarterback, including, but not limited to, special teams. A Practice Squad player who is designated as a club’s emergency third quarterback will only be paid his applicable minimum Paragraph 5 Salary if he is elevated/activated to play in the game.

It’s unclear how likely any of these proposals are to get passed, but they will undoubtedly be on the docket during the owners meetings later this month in Arizona (March 26-29).

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