BOSTON (CBS) — The mystery of the accuracy of some field goals will no longer exist in the NFL, thanks in large part to Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots.
The NFL voted on Wednesday to raise the height of the goalposts by 5 feet, a proposal which was presented to the league committee by the Patriots.
The vote to raise the uprights passed “relatively easily,” according to Dallas head coach Jason Garrett.
Given the advancement of kicking and the increasing abilities of kickers in the league, the issue of footballs flying over the goalposts has surfaced in recent years. Such kicks require nearly impossible judgment calls to be made by the officials standing underneath the goalposts, so the added height should prevent some — but not all — of those situations from arising.
Belichick famously found himself the victim of that mystery two seasons ago, when Justin Tucker’s game-winning field goal in Baltimore sailed high over the right goalpost. With no definitive angle on any replay, it was unclear at what point the ball made its away above the crossbar. Belichick ran after the officials — who were replacements at the time — and grabbed one by the arm, earning Belichick a $50,000 fine.
The league also passed rules to allow for replay reviews on fumble recoveries and another to keep the clock running after a quarterback sack that takes place outside of the final two minutes remaining.
Several Patriots proposals did not pass, such as the request to make all plays reviewable, and the moving of the extra point back to the 25-yard line. However, the PAT proposal will be put into place for the first two weeks of the preseason as a testing period, moving the line of scrimmage to the 20-yard line.
The Patriots’ proposal to add cameras to boundaries and goal lines, for which Belichick offered to run a bake sale or a car wash to raise funds, was not rejected or approved. The league will explore possibilities in making those changes.