Photo courtesy Winslow Townson/AP via patriots.com

NFL owners assembled for their annual meeting regarding specific rule changes that will be implemented during the upcoming season.

The new catch rule passed unanimously among owners on Tuesday, aimed to avoid controversial calls that have gone back-and-forth among critics.

Two other rule changes include granting authority to referees for ejecting players for non-football acts, which can also overrule on field calls, and permanently placing touchbacks after kickoffs at the 25-yard line.

But maybe the biggest rule change came late afternoon when the NFL owners agreed to penalize any hit with the crown of the helmet, making it a 15-yard penalty.

With a change in the catch rule, controversial catch rules that were ruled incomplete, including calls against Lions receiver Calvin Johnson (2010), Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant (2014) and more recently, Steelers tight end Jesse James, will likely not happen again.

The vote to enact the rule passed unanimously, 32-0, among the owners.

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, who is a member of the NFL Competition Committee, helped rewrite the catch rule and was satisfied with the new addition.

“I think the language element of it is a critical element,” Tomlin told Steelers.com. “You have to find appropriate and thoughtful language that fits the obscure and the unforeseen. I believe we all can look at a catch and know what a catch is, but to come up with the appropriate language for the obscure and the unforeseen has been the task and I have been comfortable with what we have been able to get done.”

Ruling to penalize players that lead with their helmets came from data from injuries last year, per the NFL rule change, but will not eject players based off it.

It will also apply to running backs who lead with their helmet head-first.

The below playing rules and bylaw proposals were adopted by NFL clubs this morning:

Approved 2018 Playing Rules Summary

 1.  By Competition Committee; Makes permanent the playing rule that changes the spot of the next snap after a touchback resulting from a free kick to the 25-yard line.

2. By Competition Committee; Changes standard for a catch.

7.   By Competition Committee; Authorizes the designated member of the Officiating department to instruct on-field game officials to disqualify a player for a flagrant non-football act when a foul for that act is called on the field.

Approved 2018 Bylaws Summary

  1.    By Competition Committee; Makes permanent the liberalization of rules for timing, testing, and administering physical examinations to draft-eligible players at a club’s facility.

  2.    By Buffalo; For one year only, amends Article XVII, Section 17.4 to liberalize the rule for reacquisition of a player assigned via waivers.

4a.   By Denver; Amends Article XVII, Section 17.16 to permit clubs to trade players from Reserve/Injured.

  1.    By Minnesota; Amends Article XVIII, Section 18.1 to replace the 10-day postseason claiming period with a 24-hour period.

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