NFL owners approve measure to improve on-field safety for players

NFL owners vote in favor of giving independent spotters the authority to call a medical timeout

The NFL will have rules in place to make the game safer next season, but measures to enhance replay got the thumbs down Tuesday from team owners at the league's annual meetings.

Owners voted unanimously in favor of giving independent spotters the authority to call a medical timeout if they see a player showing obvious signs of a concussion. They also approved eliminating all chop blocks and peel blocks by running backs outside the tackle box; banning players from pushing teammates at the line of scrimmage in order to block punts; and expanded defenseless-player protection to include interception returns.

But several efforts to enhance the replay system were defeated, among them proposals to allow all calls to be challenged; to increase coaches' challenges from two to three; to use stadium video for review purposes, and to use replay to review all personal fouls.

Golden anniversary

The next Super Bowl will be the 50th, so that will be a theme all season. The 50-yard line numerals and NFL shield logo at every stadium will be painted gold, as will the accents of team logos on sideline apparel.

High schools that contributed to Super Bowl history will be honored too. High schools will receive commemorative golden footballs for every player or head coach who has appeared in a Super Bowl, and those players and coaches will have the opportunity to deliver those mementos to their alma maters.

Political football

Which team or teams, if any, will relocate to Los Angeles is a popular topic at these meetings. Examining the situation Tuesday was California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who had informal meetings with Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis and St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke. Newsom, former mayor of San Francisco, also was hoping to meet with San Diego Chargers owner Dean Spanos.

"There's no agenda," Newsom said. "I'm just getting updates on everything. It's nice to have this opportunity to meet with so many people in real time, then compare and contrast the conversations that people are having externally as well. Everyone seems to have opinions about everything."

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