Tuesday, September 4, 2012

News From The AFL Rules And Competition Meetings

The Arena Football League’s Rules and Competition Committee wrapped up two extensive days of meetings last Friday evening in Jacksonville, FL.
During the meetings, the committee discussed Ironman football, defensive offside penalties, Jack linebacker out of the box calls, replays, officials and key dates for the 2013 season.
A potential return to Ironman football sparked a major debate. The group discussed the pros and cons of returning to the true Ironman style of play. The AFL transitioned from true Ironman football following the 2006 season. When the AFL introduced free substitution in 2006, Ironman football in the AFL was far more limited. Prior to the change, only one substitution was allowed per quarter.
“We took the Ironman discussion very seriously. We owed it to the history of the League. We owed it to all of the great, former Ironmen players, coaches and fans. There were a lot of good reasons on the table of why we should go back to that style of play. It was a heated discussion,” Chairman of the Rules and Competition Committee and owner of the Jacksonville Sharks Jeff Bouchy said. “I felt like I was the voice in the room for the guys in the past.”
Another major topic included defensive offside penalties. Prior to the 2012 season, new sets of rules were put in place for defensive offside. For the first infraction, a five-yard penalty was assessed. For a second call, a five-yard penalty was enforced and the player was removed for the remainder of the half. In the second half, the first defensive offside penalty would result in the removal of the player for the remainder of the game. This resulted in a 35 percent reduction in defensive offside penalties from 2011 to 2012 while sack numbers remained similar.
“We are working very hard at cleaning up other penalties much like we did with defensive offside rule,” Bouchy said.
During the 2012 season, one of the most prevalent penalties was the Jack out of the box rule. The Committee made suggestions to tighten rules of the Jack linebacker and the possibility of eliminating the Jack out of the box rule.
The replay process was also discussed during the meetings including the accessibility of more cameras and angles for review.  The drop to a five-man officiating team was also considered.
A final decision on the rulings is expected at the Board of Directors Meetings on September 12 and 13 in Phoenix, AZ.
Along with Bouchy, Tampa Bay Storm President Derrick Brooks, Sharks Head Coach Les Moss, Cleveland Gladiators President Scott Woodruff, Iowa Barnstormers General Manager John Pettit, AFL Commissioner Jerry B. Kurz, AFL Director of Football Operations Joe Kleinsmith, AFL Manager of Football Operations Matt Kurz and Pittsburgh Power President Peter Hill were also in attendance.

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