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John DeShazier: NFL votes to extend length of uprights

League will experiment with length of PATs during preseason

Orlando, Fla. – The uprights will be extended, the line of scrimmage for point-after attempts will remain the same and dunking cross bars will not go unpunished, the NFL Competition Committee said Wednesday as the NFL Meetings in Orlando, Fla., drew to a close.

Those were the more notable rules and bylaws subjects that were addressed on the final day of the meetings.

The goal post uprights will be extended five feet, from 30 to 35 feet above the cross bar. The successful proposal, submitted by the New England Patriots, will help officials be more definitive in their rulings on field-goal attempts that sail over the top of the uprights.

As for dunking cross bars, that display will result in a penalty.

Competition Committee chairman Rich McKay, the Atlanta Falcons president/CEO, said dunking over the cross bar could result in a game disruption if the goal post is knocked askew and required to be repositioned, and that the league fears that some stadiums will not be able to correct the problem if goal posts are forced out of alignment by a dunk. Also, the added weight of taller uprights factored into the decision, McKay said.

Also, the league tabled the discussion regarding moving the line of scrimmage back to the 25-yard line for PATs. However, the move apparently has intrigued teams enough to agree to an experimental, compromised adjustment during the preseason.

For two preseason games, NFL teams will use the 20-yard line as the line of scrimmage for PATs. Two-point conversion attempts will remain unaffected, as they would have been if the PAT line of scrimmage had been the 25-yard line. Teams choosing to attempt a two-point conversion will line up from the 2-yard line for those attempts.

And the committee again stressed that an increased emphasis will be placed on sportsmanlike conduct this season.

While noting that the league's current rules allow for the enforcement of penalties when on-field behavior crosses the line, Rams Coach Jeff Fisher, a member of the Competition Committee, said that unsportsmanlike conduct penalties are on the rise and that more stringent enforcement of the rules already on the books should lessen the problem.

"We agreed that we have an issue on the field," Fisher said. "We're going to effect change immediately."

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