NFL Pro Bowl rule changes, explained: Here’s what’s new for 2020, including no-kickoff experiment

first_imgHere’s a look at the two rule changes we’ll be testing at #ProBowl 2020:— NFL Officiating (@NFLOfficiating) January 21, 2020Why is the NFL doing this? With the loose nature of the game, focused more on offense than defense, it’s a good testing ground. Here’s breaking down what each rule really means:MORE: Pro Bowl rosters 2020: Selections, results, snubs and alternates1. Options after a successful field goal or try attempt with no kickoffWhen Team A scores, it has the following two options, per NFL Operations:Team A may elect to give Team B the ball at Team B’s 25-yard line, beginning a new series of downs with a first-and-10.Team A may elect to take the ball at its own 25-yard line for a fourth-and-15 play.There are no kickoffs in the Pro Bowl after a team scores either a field goal or a touchdown. Instead, a team can simply give the ball up for a pseudo-touchback, with the opponent taking over the ensuing possession at its own 25.This rule does, however, give the scoring team an opportunity, in theory, to never give up the ball outside of the opening possession of either half. Given the degree of difficulty of converting on fourth-and-15 — and the major risk of giving the opponent the ball outside the red zone if there’s a failed conversion — it’s unlikely the scoring team would take the second option often.For the team that still might trailing late after s score, converting fourth-and-long is essentially the equivalent of trying to recover an onside kickoff, albeit with a (likely) higher success rate.With the explosive nature of both offenses in the Pro Bowl, don’t be surprised to see one team get aggressive with confidence it can convert at that down and distance — with a good play designed for it. That would be like attempting a surprise onside kick, only with the opponent knowing a team is going for it.MORE: Senior Bowl 2020: Time, date, rosters, prospects to watch2. Not a false start on a flinch by flexed receiverWhen an eligible receiver moves before the snap, it is not a false start if … The NFL is going Dua Lipa on the 2020 Pro Bowl: The league is experimenting with two new rules for the game (we counted) for Sunday’s all-star game in Orlando (3 p.m. ET, ESPN).One involves an alternative to onside kicks. The other involves receivers and penalties. A flexed, eligible receiver in a two-point stance who flinches or picks up one foot, as long as his other foot remains partially on the ground and he resets for one second prior to the snap. A receiver who fits this exception is not considered to be “in motion” for the purposes of the Illegal Shift rules.All 11 offensive players have been set for at least one full second and any flexed, eligible receiver breaks his stance by picking up both feet.This rule change is less interesting and will have minimal impact on the game. Based on regular-season numbers, a wide receiver or tight end was flagged for a false start a combined 139 times in 16 games, a 5 percent rate. Call this the one-foot down exception to the normal false start definition of a player moving forward or simulating the start of a play when set, suddenly, quickly or abruptly.Unlike the fourth-and-15 replacing the onsides kickoff, however, this rule is logical and subtle enough to be implemented as a permanent change for regular NFL games.The biggest reason to watch the Pro Bowl is seeing highly skilled all-stars from the best teams having fun playing a game that doesn’t count. These new rules are two more reasons to pay closer attention to the action.last_img read more

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