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NFL Owners Approve 3 Rule Changes For 2020 Season

nfl referees reviewing a play during a game

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 16: Field judge Tom Hill #97 (L) and referee Shawn Hochuli #83 review a New York Giants punt in which they challenged during the first half against the Tennessee Titans at MetLife Stadium on December 16, 2018 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)

The NFL announced this afternoon three rule changes that will go into effect immediately for the 2020 season.

Automatic replays will be expanded "to include scoring plays and turnovers negated by a foul, and any successful or unsuccessful Try attempt," per the NFL release. This is an amendment to a previous statute regarding replay.

The league is also expanding its defenseless player protection to kickoff or punt returners who has the ball and "has not had time to avoid or ward off the impending contact of an opponent." Considering the league has attempted to make kickoff returns safer in recent years, this change makes sense.

Lastly, the ability of teams to manipulate the game clock by taking multiple dead-ball fouls while the clock is running has now been outlawed. Mike Vrabel and Bill Belichick might be mourning this new development.

Then again, after Belichick saw his former protege use this tactic against him in the playoffs last year, he might be okay with this new development.

The league will also expand the number of players that can be placed on the IR with a "designated to return" label from two to three. As for the much-discussed onside kick rule change, it did not pass for the second consecutive year after being tabled once again.

That's a little disappointing, considering the 4th-and-15 onside kick alternative would have been interesting to watch. We'll see if the measure eventually passes in 2021.