Detroit Lions Take Charge: Propose Changes to Improve Officiating


The Detroit Lions are not afraid to push for change in the NFL.

The Lions have submitted three rule proposals  for the 2023 season to improving the league’s officiating system. The Lions’ proposals show that they are in tune with the league and are determined for the right calls to be made on the field, too. These proposals are just the latest example of the Lions’ dedication to excellence across the organization.

Personal foul calls on the field

Among the most interesting of their proposals is the expansion of the coach’s challenge system to include personal fouls called on the field.

The Lions propose allowing coaches to challenge any personal foul called on the field, and a successful challenge would require presenting clear and obvious evidence to overturn the ruling on the field.

The proposal only permits coaches to challenge personal fouls that were called and not personal fouls that were not called. For example, a coach could challenge a questionable hit that drew a flag on a defenseless player, but they could not challenge a blatantly illegal hit that was not called.

The Detroit Lions propose giving teams more opportunities to challenge calls during games. Currently, teams have two challenges per game, and if they win both, they receive a third challenge. However, the Lions suggest that teams should receive a third challenge if they are successful in at least one of their two challenges.

Replay Official Jurisdiction

In addition to these proposals, the Lions have suggested that the Replay Official’s jurisdiction be expanded to allow for consultation regarding penalty assessment. The Replay Official can currently stop play to correct clear and obvious mistakes on the field, but the types of plays they can change are limited. The Detroit Lions suggest adding a 10th item to that list, allowing the Replay Official to overturn a penalty involving the position of a player.

Finally, the Lions have proposed bringing back an old rule that was abolished in 2011. They suggest allowing teams to designate an inactive player as a third quarterback in emergency situations, only eligible after a team’s first two quarterbacks have been ruled out. If activated, the emergency third quarterback may not participate at a position other than quarterback.

Overall, the Lions’ proposals are aimed at improving the league’s officiating system. The proposed changes will be discussed at league meetings later this month. If they are taken to a vote, they must receive the support of 24 of the league’s 32 owners to be adopted.

Other teams’ proposals

The Lions’ proposals are not the only rule changes being considered for the 2023 season. Six other rule changes, submitted by five teams, will also be considered. Some proposals will have no impact on the game. This includes the Eagles’ request that players be allowed to wear the number 0. However, the Eagles’ suggest that teams be allowed to substitute an onside kick with a fourth-and-20 play from the 20-yard line. This would be a significant shift in how the game has previously been played.

The Houston Texans have proposed a pared-down version of one of the Lions’ proposals, requesting that the Replay Official’s jurisdiction be expanded only on failed fourth-down plays. Similarly, the Los Angeles Rams have asked that just roughing-the-passer calls be added to plays coaches can challenge.

The proposals will be discussed at league meetings later this month, with a vote to be taken if necessary. While it is unclear how likely any of the proposals are to be passed, the Lions’ suggestions have already generated significant interest and discussion.

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Featured Image Syndication: Detroit Free Press