NFL owners approved two significant rules changes on Wednesday that will take effect in the 2012 regular season.
Instant replay will include reviews of all turnovers and will not require a coach’s challenge. Previously, a coach had to challenge a turnover if he wanted the play reviewed. An official in the press box will decide if a referee should review a turnover.
Owners also voted to have the same rules for overtime in regular-season and playoff games. They adopted a measure two years ago giving each team at least one possession in OT in the playoffs. That system also will be used in the regular season.
The only way a game can end in overtime on the first possession is if the team receiving the kickoff scores a touchdown, or if the defense scores a touchdown or a safety.
Owners voted down a proposal to have replay officials in the press box make the final decision on disputed calls. Referees will continue to rule on replays from a television monitor on the field.
A proposal to expand rosters to 90 players in preseason was tabled until the owners’ May meetings. Also tabled was a proposal to extend the trading deadline to after the eighth week of the season instead of after Week 6.
In other business, commissioner Roger Goodell said he wants to meet with officials from the NFL Players Association to review potential discipline of Saints players involved in their bounty program from 2009-11. Goodell has suspended coach Sean Payton (the entire 2012 season), former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams (indefinitely suspended) and general manager Mickey Loomis (eight games).
Goodell is ready to sanction defensive players who offered money to knock opponents out of the game. As many as 27 reportedly were involved, but only those who were considered ringleaders and/or offered substantial cash payments are expected to be suspended.
Indianapolis: A financial adviser for Indianapolis Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney and the adviser’s lover have been arrested on federal wire fraud charges that allege they swindled about $2.2 million from the lineman.
Eva Weinberg, 48, of Los Angeles, and Michael Stern, 51, of Miami, were arrested last week by FBI agents who believe the couple were trying to flee the United States.