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Owners approve two more rule changes

On the final day of their meetings in Florida Wednesday, NFL owners approved two more rule changes.


Last season Marc Mariani averaged 26.1 yards on 16 kickoff returns for the Bears.

Touchbacks after kickoffs will be moved to the 25-yard line from the 20 and players who commit two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties in the same game will be ejected.

Both rules will be reviewed following the 2016 season to determine whether they become permanent.

Proponents of the touchback rule want to further reduce the number of kickoff returns because of the violent collisions and risk of injury on the play.

But those who oppose the rule believe that it will actually result in more returns because special-teams coaches—confident in their coverage units—will call for directional "pooch" kickoffs just short of the goal line.

With the ejection rule, it's important to note that it pertains to unsportsmanlike conduct penalties such as taunting or arguing with an official and not personal fouls such as a facemask penalty or late hit.

The two new rules come one day after the owners approved these seven rule changes on Tuesday:

1) On extra point attempts, the ball will permanently by placed at the 15-yard line and the defense will be allowed to return any miss for a potential two points.

2) All chop blocks will be illegal.

3) The horse-collar rule will be expanded to include when a defender grabs a runner's jersey at the name plate or above and pulls him toward the ground.

4) A team that attempts to call a timeout when it has none remaining will be penalized five yards for delay of game.

5) When a receiver goes out of bounds and is first to touch a forward pass, he no longer will be penalized. Instead, it will just be a loss of down.

6) Multiple spots of enforcement for a double foul after a change of possession will be eliminated.

7) Coaches calling offensive and defensive plays can use the coach-to-player communication system regardless of whether they're on the field or in the coaches booth.

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