The new draft order will apply to every round of the draft. Under the new format, which will take effect in 2010, the order of teams not in the playoffs is still based on record -- i.e., the team with the worst record will receive the No. 1 draft pick.
For the rest, there will be a reseeding based on how far the teams go in the playoffs. For example, the losers of the wild-card games will be seeded 21st through 24th based on their records.
The losers in the divisional rounds will be seeded 25th through 28th. Teams eliminated in the conference championship games will be seeded 29th and 30th.
The Super Bowl loser will be seeded 31st. The Super Bowl winner will receive the final pick in each round.
The competition committee recommended the change -- which the owners passed 32-0 -- after watching the San Diego Chargers go 8-8 as a division champion in 2008, then win a game in the playoffs. But the Chargers drafted ahead of teams that didn't make the playoffs, and well ahead of the Indianapolis Colts, whom they beat in the playoffs.
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The Jacksonville Jaguars withdrew their playoff seeding proposal, which would have given home games to wild-card teams based strictly on their records, instead of seeding teams higher if they win division titles. The Jaguars have been pushing this proposal for two years, but it didn't have enough support.
Two minor rule changes also were adopted:
• If a fumble or backward pass goes out of bounds, the game clock will start when the official places the ball in play.
• The NFL eliminated a second onside kick chance if the first onside kick goes out of bounds. The competition committee believed that bad onside kicks should not be rewarded with a second opportunity.
John Clayton is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.