The NFL Competition Committee will recommend a few rule changes at the owners meetings next week in Phoenix, but it won't push for expanded playoffs.
Sources close to the committee confirmed to The Sports Xchange that proposals will be made to penalize certain chop blocks inside the tackle box as well as low, blind-side blocks on defenders more than three yards outside the tackle box, the type that occur while they are chasing a scrambling quarterback.
The first rule proposal addresses the type of block that ended the 2011 season early for Houston Texans
linebacker Brian Cushing
and, therefore, will probably be known as the Cushing rule.
The second proposal gives defenders some solace after seeing so many recent rules changes result in more penalties and fines.
According to a source close to the committee, the rules changes received unanimous backing of the nine-person committee. Still, even these two significant rules changes are a compromise to those in the NFL requesting a complete ban on chop blocks, similar to the college rule.
However, the committee isn't likely to recommend playoff expansion, two people close to the situation told The Washington Post.
The rule-making committee plans to issue a report about the reasons and consequences associated with an expanded field, but won't recommend the idea.
"I know there's supposed to be a report," one of the people told the paper. "There's no specific proposal."
The committee had tossed around the idea of expanding the postseason field from six teams per conference to seven or eight teams, the report said. Some thought was given to lengthening the postseason and shortening the preseason as a way to make it more appealing to the players' union and owners. The idea will likely be reviewed further, but not in the 2013 season.
Currently the four division winners and two wild-card teams in each conference make the postseason, or 12 of the league's 32 teams. Playoffs expansion would increase that number to 14 or 16 teams, and could potentially eliminate one or both first-round playoff byes.
---The Buffalo Bills are looking into a recorded phone call between general manager Buddy Nix and Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Mark Dominik that came as the result of a prank phone call.
The conversation was posted on Deadspin.com and a number of social media sites, and included a number of topics, including free agency, the team's respective trade discussions and the status of Bills' quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.
"We are aware of the report on Deadspin involving a phone conversation with Bills GM Buddy Nix," the Bills said in a statement. "We have made the league aware of the report and are reviewing it with legal counsel."
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