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Should NFL teams be able to retain possession after scoring? Potential rules changes for the 2023 season

The next league meeting is scheduled to begin one week from today: March 26 – 29 in Phoenix, AZ. Recently, the NFL released details of nine proposed rule changes submitted by seven different clubs.

The potential changes will be voted on during the league meeting at the end of the month. Two particular proposals stand out among the rest:

  • The proposal to be able to review roughing the passer calls
  • The proposal for teams to be able to retain possession of the ball after scoring


The submitted a proposal to amend Rule 15, Sections 1 and 3. Those sections currently cover coaches' challenges and replay reviews.

The Rams' three-and-a-half-page proposal would improve competitive equity, according to its authors.

To cover their bases, the Rams added language referencing the review of roughing the passer calls to three different articles of the rule book.

The fairness and objectivity of rough-the-passer calls came under scrutiny when the frequency of calls seemed to increase after the public and scary image of Dolphins seizing up on the field seemingly due to head trauma after a hit.

Even the Cowboys' own commented publicly about his frustrations with the calls.

The option to challenge and review roughing the passer calls might give officials a chance to examine the legality of a hit rather than making a call based only on their initial perception of force or intensity.


It was the who proposed an option for teams to retain possession of the ball after scoring.

Adoption of their proposal would mean that after a touchdown or successful field goal, instead of a kick-off, teams would have one opportunity to move the ball from their own 20-yard line to their 40-yard line; basically a 4th-and-20 situation from their own 20.

If the team converts, play would continue as normal with the team retaining possession and the next spot of the ball occurring as usual.

If a team failed to convert, however, the opposing team would start their next drive from wherever the previous play ended, which would be considerably closer to the end zone.

Additionally, as their proposal is written, teams would not be able to change their decision and opt for a kickoff if the commits a that puts them even deeper into their own territory.

This rule change is possibly inspired by the .

According to XFL rules, scoring teams may retain possession of the ball if they move the ball 15 yards from their own 25-yard line in one attempt. This rule only applies to the 4th quarter of XFL games.

The Eagles did not limit the application of this proposed rule to a specific quarter. As written, it would apply to the entire game.

The Eagles cited competitive equity and fan engagement as the reasons for their proposal.

Jazz Monet
Jazz Monet
Sports culture analyst. Sports competition enthusiast. Host of Bitches Love Sports podcast. Personal trainer. Roller derby athlete and trainer.

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