Game Clock Loophole Used By, Against Bill Belichick Could Soon Close

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April 10, 2020

If the NFL competition committee has its way, there will be no more game clock shenanigans moving forward.

One of the rule change proposals to be voted on at the next NFL meetings reads:

— By the Competition Committee, to amend Rule 4, Section 3, Article 2, to prevent teams from manipulating the game clock by committing multiple dead-ball fouls while the clock is running.

Rule 4, Section 3, Article 2 reads:

— Following any timeout (3-37-1), the game clock shall be started on a scrimmage down when the ball is next snapped …

The Patriots ran excess time off the clock in a game against the Jets last season when they committed consecutive intentional delay of game and false start penalties, which New York declined.

?It was just the way the rules are set up,? Belichick said after the game in October. ?We were able to run quite a bit of time off the clock without really having to do anything. That?s probably a loophole that will be closed — and probably should be closed — but right now, it?s open.?

The Tennessee Titans pulled a similar maneuver against the Patriots in their divisional round playoff win when they also committed consecutive delay of game and false start penalties.

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Here is the full list of rule change proposals:

COMPETITION COMMITTEE RULES PROPOSALS
— By the Competition Committee, to amend Rule 12, Section 2, Article 9, to expand defenseless player protection to a kickoff or punt returner who is in possession of the ball but who has not had time to avoid or ward off the impending contact of an opponent.

— By the Competition Committee, to amend Rule 4, Section 3, Article 2, to prevent teams from manipulating the game clock by committing multiple dead-ball fouls while the clock is running.

CLUB PLAYING RULES PROPOSALS
— By Philadelphia; to amend Rule 12, Section 2, Article 7, to modify the blindside block rule to prevent unnecessary fouls.

— By Philadelphia; to amend Rule 15, Section 2, to make permanent the expansion of automatic replay reviews to include scoring plays and turnovers negated by a foul, and any successful or unsuccessful try attempt.

— By Philadelphia; to amend Rule 6, Section 1, Article 1, to provide an alternative to the onside kick that would allow a team who is trailing in the game an opportunity to maintain possession of the ball after scoring (4th and 15 from the kicking team?s 25-yard line).

— By Philadelphia; to amend Rule 16, Section 1, to restore preseason and regular season overtime to 15 minutes and implement rules to minimize the impact of the overtime coin toss.

— By Miami; to amend Rule 4, Section 3, Article 2, to provide the option to the defense for the game clock to start on the referee?s signal if the defense declines an offensive penalty that occurs late in either half.

— By Baltimore and Los Angeles Chargers; to amend Rule 19, Section 2, to add a ?booth umpire? as an eighth game official to the officiating crew.

— By Baltimore and Los Angeles Chargers; to amend Rule 19, Section 2, to add a Senior Technology Advisor to the Referee to assist the officiating crew.

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