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NFL Passes More Rule Changes for 2016 Season

A pair of major rule changes were passed by the NFL Competition Committee on Wednesday at the league's Annual Meeting in Boca Raton, Fla.

In addition to the seven rules added on Tuesday, the league will now enforce an automatic ejection rule for any player flagged for two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties in a game. The NFL also passed a proposal to change the spot of the snap after a touchback to the 25-yard line.

Both rule changes will be instituted experimentally for one season before being decided on as a full-time change.

"Sportsmanship is important to us," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said of the league's new ejection policy.

"Sportsmanship is important to the (NFL owners). We all have standards. They have two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties before they're ejected. The message from the membership, our clubs and the coaches is they're going to be held to those high standards."

Competition Committee chairman Rich McKay also announced a few other policy changes for 2016 via

  • Teams do not have to designate a player to return once they are placed on injured reserve. Players, however, still have to be on IR for at least six weeks before being brought back to the active roster.
  • Offensive and defensive play-callers are able to use headset communication from both the field or in the coaches' booth.
  • Horse-collar tackles have expanded to include area "at the nameplate and above" on the shoulder pads.
  • Teams will be flagged for delay of game if they attempt to call a timeout when they are not permitted.
  • The NFL eliminated the 5-yard penalty for an eligible receiver illegally touching a forward pass after being out of bounds and re-establishing himself inbounds, and makes it a loss of down.
  • The NFL eliminated "multiple spots of enforcement for a double foul after a change of possession."
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