NFL rules changes: PATs moved to 20-yard line for preseason

BY PATRICK FINLEY Staff Reporter

March 26, 2014 5:02PM

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Updated: March 26, 2014 5:09PM

The playoffs aren’t getting bigger, at least for another few weeks.

But goalposts are.

NFL owners approved three rule changes Wednesday, and commissioner Roger Goodell said it was “not out of the question” for the NFL to expand the postseason from 12 to 14 teams before the start of next season.

Goodell will discuss the idea with the NFL Players’ Association on April 8.

“I think there’s a tremendous amount of interest in this, possibly even to the point of support, but there are also things we still want to make sure we do it right,” he said at the owner’s meetings in Orlando. “We’ve been very incremental in trying to do this, but we believe competitively it could make even our races toward the end of our season even more exciting — with more teams vying for playoff positions, which is great for our fans.”

Owners did pass three changes:

• Goalposts will be extended 5 feet taller, to 35 feet, to better gauge makes and misses.

• The clock will no longer stop after a sack. Previously, it stopped briefly after sacks outside the final two minutes of each half.

• Loose-ball recoveries can be reviewed. The so-called “NaVorro Bowman Rule” was named after the 49ers linebacker who should have been awarded a fumble recovery in the NFC Championship Game.

Owners ruled, too, that extra points will be kicked from the 20-yard line for the first two preseason weeks next season. The experiment stems from concern PATs kicked from the 2 have become too automatic.

Email: pfinley@suntimes.com

Twitter: @patrickfinley

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