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New OT formats among proposed rule changes

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The NFL is expanding from 16 to 17 games this year, but that may not be the only significant change the league will institute in 2021.

During their spring meeting in May, NFL owners are expected to vote on 11 proposed rule changes and two bylaws, with all proposals requiring approval from 24 of the 32 owners to be adopted.

The most intriguing proposals involve new overtime formats as well as an alternative to the onside kick.

One overtime rule change proposed by the Ravens and Eagles would give the winner of the overtime coin toss the opportunity to choose either 1) To begin overtime by placing the ball at any spot on the field; or 2) To play offense or defense. The loser of the coin toss would be granted the option not picked by the winner of the toss.

Regardless, the decision about where to put the ball would come before it's determined which team plays offense or defense. A 10-minute overtime period would then begin at that yard line, without a kickoff, and end with the first score, thus making it sudden death. If no one scores after 10 minutes, the game would be declared a tie.

The Ravens proposed another rule change that incorporates all of the aforementioned elements—except that overtime would last 7:30 and be played in full, with the team that's leading at the end of the period being declared the winner.

Another new rule proposed by the Eagles would enable teams to maintain possession of the ball after a score by substituting one fourth-and-15 play from their own 25-yard line for an onside kick attempt.

Other rule proposals involve the elimination of overtime in the preseason, expanding jersey number options at certain positions and adding an eighth off-the-field official who has access to a television monitor and can communicate with on-field officials.

Click here for a complete list of the proposed rule changes and bylaws.

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