A few extra reasons to throw the yellow flag

Going into the 2010 season, there may be a few more reasons for the Refs to throw that yellow flag, and also for the coaches, the red one.

The Ravens were no stranger to the yellow flag last season and after a few controversial calls around the league it was clear some changes would be made. Most of what was discussed at the NFL clubs Annual Meeting in March revolved around protecting the players. Also, some of the instant replay and overtime rules were discussed and changed.

I’m not too sure how I feel about some of them, but here are the changes for 2010. How do you feel about them?

Unnecessary Roughness: Existing unnecessary roughness rules have been standardized, and protection for defenseless players has been expanded, including additional safeguards for defenseless players, who have just completed a catch from blows to the head or neck by an opponent who launches, and long snappers. All unnecessary roughness violations result in a 15-yard penalty.

Helmet Removal: If a ball carrier’s helmet comes off during a play, the ball will immediately be blown dead.

Dead Ball Fouls: If there is a dead ball personal foul by either team following the end of the second or fourth quarter, the penalty yardage will now be enforced on the second-half kickoff or the kickoff in overtime.

Instant Replay: Two adjustments were made to instant replay procedures in the interest of competitive fairness:

1. If there is not an on-field ruling that a ball strikes a video board, guide wire, sky cam or any other object, the replay assistant may now initiate a booth review, even if the event occurs prior to the two-minute warning.

2. If a replay review inside of one minute of either half results in the on-field ruling being reversed and the correct ruling would not have stopped the game clock, then there will be a 10-second runoff before the ball is put back in play.

Jersey Numbers: In addition to numbers 60-79 and 90-99, defensive linemen are now permitted to wear numbers 50-59. Also, players who change positions are no longer required to switch jersey numbers if the change is from an ineligible position to another ineligible position (e.g. center to offensive guard) or from an eligible position to another eligible position (e.g. running back to wide receiver).

Fair Catch Muffs: The penalty yardage for interference when a kicking team player attempts to catch a muffed kick has been eliminated. A penalty for unnecessary roughness, if applicable, would not be affected.

Postseason - Modified Sudden Death: The modified sudden death system of determining the winner shall prevail when the score is tied at the end of regulation playing time of postseason NFL games. The system guarantees each team a possession or the opportunity to possess, unless the team that receives the opening kickoff scores a touchdown on its initial possession.

- At the end of regulation time, the Referee will immediately toss a coin at the center of the field in accordance with rules pertaining to the usual pregame toss. The captain of the visiting team will call the toss prior to the coin being flipped.

- Following a three-minute intermission after the end of the regulation game, play will be continued in 15-minute periods until a winner is declared. Each team must possess or have the opportunity to possess the ball unless the team that has the ball first scores a touchdown on its initial possession. Play continues in sudden death until a winner is determined, and the game automatically ends upon any score (by safety, field goal, or touchdown) or when a score is awarded by the Referee for a palpably unfair act. Each team has three time-outs per half and all general timing provisions apply as during a regular game. The try is not attempted if a touchdown is scored. Disqualified players are not allowed to return.

- Instant Replay: No challenges. Reviews to be initiated by the replay assistant.