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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Rules Altered at Owners Meetings

Bucs’ G.M. Rich McKay discusses the decisions reached by the NFL in Palm Springs this week


It appears that quarterbacks will be given the greater benefit of the doubt in pass rush situations this season

The NFL owners meetings have come to a close, after a busy few days — and some important decisions have been made regarding NFL rules. First of all, instant replay will be around for at least the next three years. The final vote by the owners was 25-5 with one abstention.

"Replay is accepted by the coaches, the fans and the players, although it may not be the most popular of rules," said Rich McKay, general manager of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and co-chairman of the league's competition committee.

One new rule that will go into effect next season is a ban on bandanas. This measure was passed by an overwhelming majority of 30-1 (Oakland was against it). The NFL has ruled that bandanas violate the uniform code, but skullcaps are fine as long as they bear the team logo and colors. Bandanas however were approved for players needing them to help with medical problems.

In addition, officials will be encouraged to protect the quarterback to an ever greater degree next season. Rules against taunting will also be tightened and 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalties will be assessed.

McKay also said the "momentum rule" has been altered. The new rule has the ball given to the defensive team at the spot where it took possession even if the defensive player's momentum carried him backward into the end zone. That goes for interceptions, fumble recoveries or free kicks.

Realignment was discussed, but a final decision won't come until May.

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