Tom Brady # 12 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers throws a pass during the first half against the New Orleans Saints at Raymond James Stadium on November 8, 2020 in Tampa, Florida.
Mike Ehrmann | Getty Images
With a fourth relegation at a high, the National Football League has more of an incentive to change the rules of the game next year.
The NFL held a conference call on Tuesday after a two-hour league meeting to get an update on their Covid-19 season. The NFL discussed contingency plans for games "if necessary," but Commissioner Roger Goodell added the league remains "committed to finishing the season as planned".
The NFL also set criteria for their playoff eligibility in the event that teams fail to complete the season with the same number of games, but should submit reseeding teams in the postseason as part of their new emergency decision.
Goodell also reiterated that the league's competition committee would meet in the off-season to discuss the addition of the fourth and 15th option.
The added rule would allow teams to attempt an initial descent from their own 25 yard line. Should the team fail, the opponent would gain possession of the ball in the same field position. The option would be an alternative to teams trying an onside kick.
According to a November 4 memo received by the league from CNBC, the NFL noted to its Competition Committee that more teams are going down in fourth place and converting more often.
Through week 8 this season, NFL clubs have attempted fourth and first place 55.9% of the time, compared to an average of 42% between 2010 and 2019. And the clubs have 69% of fourth downs converts what is noted in the memos 7% in the same period in the seasons from 2010 to 2019.
In addition, there were 200 fewer punts by week 8 compared to the 2019 season. Goodell said the NFL discussed the metrics with the clubs in October and intends to have the option for fourth and 15th places next season.
"We think this is a rule that we should bring back to the committee in the off-season and take into account in the spring [meetings] for the 2021 season," Goodell said on the conference call. "It's something we thought of and a lot of clubs thought it would be an exciting addition to the game and it's something that I think deserves further discussion."
The Denver Broncos proposed options 4 and 15 in 2019, and Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie introduced the idea earlier this year.
The memo also notes that kickoff response rates are down 34.6% and punts are down 40.5%. Therefore, the NFL plans to further investigate moving the kickoff line from its current location at 35 to the 30 yard line. The proposal was previously submitted for future consideration.
The sun rises over Raymond James Stadium as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers take the field for a practice session at the NFL soccer training camp on Friday, August 28, 2020 in Tampa, Florida.
Chris O & # 39; Meara | AP
I am not planning a vaccine
The NFL released its latest Covid-19 test results, which revealed 15 new confirmed positive tests on players and 41 new confirmed positive tests on other team members. Since testing began on August 1, the NFL has reported 78 players and 140 other staff have confirmed positive cases.
Despite the increasing cases of Covid-19 in the U.S., Goodell reiterated the league's plans to have fans at Super Bowl LV on February 7 in Tampa, Florida. He did not specify how many spectators would be allowed into Raymond James Stadium, but noted that the plan had as many fans "who can be made safe".
When asked if news of a possible vaccine would affect the NFL's Super Bowl plans for viewers, Goodell said no.
“We're assuming we're planning for fans in Tampa,” he said. "We don't do it on the basis that there will be a vaccine."
Pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and BioNTech announced on Monday that the study results show that their coronavirus vaccine is more than 90% effective at preventing Covid-19 in the absence of any signs of previous infection. It has yet to be approved by the FDA.
Scientists are hoping for a coronavirus vaccine that is at least 75% effective, while White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci, considers a vaccine 50% or 60% effective to be acceptable.