Possible NFL rule changes include challenges for penalties at end of halves

Referee Carl Cheffers #51 watches a replay of a second quarter play during the game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Buffalo Bills at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium on December 10, 2023 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Im

A new rule is under consideration to allow coaches to challenge any penalty call, an idea proposed by the Indianapolis Colts.

NFL teams proposed several rule changes released by the league on Wednesday, which include the choice to run a fourth-and-20 play instead of an onside kick, moving the trade deadline and giving teams an extra challenge if they are successful on one of their first two attempts. 

This change would allow for challenges of penalty calls by coaches or replay officials in the last two minutes of the half for a chance to correct flagrant mistakes.

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Additionally, challenges would be limited only to penalties called on the field and could not impose a penalty when it isn't called.

Under the existing system, replay is not used for most penalty calls outside of too many men on the field or if the ball is touched before a pass interference penalty occurs.

Replay is also limited to plays, including if a ball is caught or dropped, if a player reached for a first down or touchdown, if a player fumbles the ball before being down by contact, and if a play was inbounds or out of bounds.

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A few years ago, the NFL did a one-year trial run to challenge and review pass interference calls after a controversial no-call cost the New Orleans Saints a trip to the Super Bowl in the NFC championship game against the Los Angeles Rams. The NFL dropped the PI review after a year. 

The competition committee will make its own rule change proposals next week, and NFL owners plan to vote on them at the annual league meetings on March 24-27, with 24 votes needed for approval.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story was reported from Washington, D.C.