BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The NFL owners decided upon several rule changes via a vote at the Annual League Meeting in Phoenix.

One of the rules passed was to prohibit players from leaping over offensive linemen during kicks.

Defenders leaping from the second level over an offensive lineman, usually the long snapper, has led to exciting plays.

Last season saw a combined 41 blocked field-goal attempts and PATs, three of which came from players jumping over the line, as the Ravens saw happen against New England when Shea McClellin blocked a field-goal against the perfect Justin Tucker. Both the NFL and NFLPA endorsed the ban for safety reasons.

Although several new rules including the leaping were ratified, the proposal to shorten overtimes in preseason and regular-season games to 10 minutes was tabled for further consideration.

Other rule changes voted upon Tuesday:

1. The NFL passed a rule for automatic ejections for egregious hits to the head, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported.

2. The Washington Redskins’ proposal to place the ball at the 20-yard-line if the kicker puts it through the uprights on a kickoff failed, NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported.

3. The owners approved centralized replay, giving senior VP of officiating Dean Blandino and the New York command center final say on calls in question, NFL Network’s Kimberly Jones reported.

4. Touchbacks on kickoffs will once again result in teams starting from the 25-yard line. The rule was renewed by team owners for another year rather than being made permanent.

5. Receivers running pass routes are now being given defenseless player protection.

6. Crackback blocks are now prohibited by a backfield player in motion, even if he’s not more than two yards outside the tackle box when the ball is snapped.

7. Unsportsmanlike penalties will be issued to players who commit multiple fouls during the same down in an effort to manipulate the game clock.

8. Similarly, action to conserve time after the two-minute warning of either half would be considered illegal and would result in a penalty now.

9. Ejections for two unsportsmanlike fouls in a single game, which was introduced last season, is now a permanent rule.

10. The proposal to shorten the overtime period from 15 minutes to 10 minutes in preseason and regular season games was tabled to May’s Spring League Meeting, per Rapoport.


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