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Larger Rosters, No Inactive List for Thursday Night Football and Other Changes Considered by NFL Competition Committee

The NFL Competition Committee is meeting this week to consider several changes to the NFL rule book

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Troy Vincent, NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations, has been sharing a list of topics that the NFL Competition Committee will consider.  The Committee has been meeting in Naples, Florida this weekend to discuss the possible changes, and will then put them to a vote at the Annual Owner's Meeting.  The proposals will require the votes of 75% of the owners to pass.

Some of the things being considered are changing what is reviewable under instant replay, adding a medical timeout to adequately assess injuries like concussions, completely banning the chop block, who gets mic'ed up during games, improving international games, and more.  You can read the list that Vincent provided below:

Some of the changes we're considering:

  • Modifying what is reviewable under instant replay
  • Exploring processes and procedures of how a medical timeout would work
  • Discussing banning the chop block
  • Ensuring that the review process covers what was called on the field and does not create new fouls
  • Refining the definition of a hit on a defenseless player
  • Adding an eighth official
  • Making the extra point more challenging
  • Using tablets on the sideline and for video replay and moving closer to our "sideline of the future" by adopting new technology
  • Continuing to enhance our concussion protocol
  • Increasing our standards for equipment that may make our game safer
Vincent added the NFL's objectives for some of the rule changes:

We have two main objectives when considering changes to the rules: protecting our players from unnecessary risk and providing clarity and consistency in the way we administer the game.

Accordingly, there are two areas that are of particular interest to me as we explore the next steps in the evolution of player health and safety-the concept of a medical time out and removing the chop block from the game. A medical timeout could be called when a spotter or an independent person unaffiliated with either team on the sideline believes a player is in need of medical attention, but he remains in the game. What is the practical application of such a time out? What are the processes and procedures that would be in place to ensure both competitive balance and the health of the player?-these are questions that should be considered.

The chop block has been banned from both the high school and college game. We have a generation of players coming to the NFL who never used the chop block, yet they may be expected to initiate this technique that could result in a career-ending injury. We strongly need to consider removing this technique from the game.

Vincent then added a few more topics of discussion this week that could change the game and roster management going forward.

Mike Florio from ProFootballTalk reports that this could lead to the elimination of the inactive list for Thursday Night Football games.  Players and coaches hate the Thursday Night games due to the short week, and lack of recovery time for injured players.  It is especially difficult for the team that has to travel that week.  Eliminating the inactive list gives teams 53 players instead of the normal 46 that are active on gamedays.

NFL executive V.P. of football operations Troy Vincent said Saturday that the Competition Committee considered the proper handling of rosters for Thursday games.

Per a league source, the possible solution is the removal of the inactive list for Thursday Night Football. If that happens, teams would dress all 53 players on Thursday night games, with no players on the inactive list.

Florio then added that the Competition Committee is considering bumping up the size of team roster from 53 players to 55 players, which would give teams playing on TNF even more options.  This would also cost teams more money which has been a concern, but with the recent jumps in the salary cap, and the projected increases that are coming over the next few years due to various TV deals, the small increase could be absorbed.  The NFL expanded the offseason roster from 80 players to 90 in 2012, and increased the size of practice squads from 8 to 10 last season.  The next logical step is to allow teams to carry more players on their active rosters during the season.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the Competition Committee is considering expanding rosters from 53 to 55.

Opposition to larger rosters previously came from the fact that more than a few teams were having trouble staying under a salary cap that was flat and/or "smoothing." In recent years, the salary cap has been increasing more quickly. Coupled with the impact of the rookie wage scale on the market for veterans (many are paid less and less because quality rookies are cheaper than ever), there's plenty of extra cash available under the cap to pay two more players per team.