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Friday, March 23, 2012
12-men penalty could change

By Mike Reiss

The annual NFL meeting is being held in Palm Beach, Florida starting Monday, and as is the norm, several rule-change proposals will be discussed.

One of them is in response to what unfolded at the end of Super Bowl XLVI.

The Patriots were attempting to drive for a touchdown late and had the ball at their 44-yard line with 17 seconds left. At the snap, the Giants had one extra defender on the field (12 instead of 11) and were penalized but the play continued.

The play, a long incomplete pass to Aaron Hernandez, took up eight seconds.

Some looked at that and asked the question, "Is that fair? Why shouldn't the clock still be at 17 seconds?"

With this in mind, the NFL Competition Committee has the following proposal to be discussed at the annual meeting (as explained by Rich McKay, co-chairman of the Competition Committee):
"Playing Rule Proposal No. 5 is an adoption, if you will, or a proposal to adopt, the college rule on too-many-men-on-the-field. It would be a dead-ball foul now as it is in college. If you line up on offense for more than three seconds or if on defense you line up and the snap is imminent, then the official will shut the play down and it will be a dead-ball foul, five yards and you go from there. You would still have the same situation if a player is trying to run off the field or something like that. In that case, it would be a live-ball foul and a five-yard penalty. It deals a little bit with, and is a little bit of a reaction, obviously, to the Super Bowl (XLVI) play."