NFL Executive Says No Support To Change Fumble Through the End Zone Rule

NFL executive Troy Vincent says there will be no support to change the fumble through the end zone touchback rule.

Every single offseason, the NFL Competition Committee implements rule changes and upgrades to the game for various reasons, from player safety to fan experience.

In recent years, we’ve seen major tweaks to the NFL overtime rules and an emphasis on protecting quarterbacks and defenseless receivers.

In the AFC Divisional Round between the Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills, Mecole Hardman fumbled the ball through the end zone, resulting in a touchback.

After this, many expected the NFL Competition Committee to look into this rule, as it has received plenty of criticism for being too harsh of a penalty by giving the defense the ball at the 20-yard line.

It happened during the 2020 NFL Divisional Round as well, when Cleveland Browns receiver Rashard “Hollywood” Higgins fumbled through the end zone against the Chiefs. Many thought because the fumble through the end zone happened during the playoffs this year, the league might look into changing the rule.

It appears as if the NFL won’t take much of a look at it, regardless.

Troy Vincent Says There’s No Support To Change Fumble Through the End Zone Rule

Former NFL player and current executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent said on Thursday that it’s unlikely we’ll see this rule changed any time soon.

Despite backlash and criticism of the rule from fans and NFL media pundits alike, the NFL Competition Committee seemingly has no desire to look into modifying this penalty.

During an interview with “PFT Live,” Vincent agreed that it is a very harsh punishment. However, he noted that it did not happen at all in the 2022 season and happened just four times during the 2023 season.

“If he just simply puts the ball in the right hand like we’re all taught in elementary school when you first start learning football, it doesn’t happen,” Vincent said. “End of discussion, move on.”

In addition to Hardman in the postseason, one of the other notable examples of this play was in Week 2 on Thursday Night Football when Vikings star WR Justin Jefferson lost control of the football as he was reaching for the end zone against the Eagles, resulting in a touchback.

Considering Jefferson’s touchback happened during a prime-time game with the entire NFL world watching, it brought the controversy about the rule back to the forefront.

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Vincent said he raised the question one last time to make sure there was no desire to discuss changing the rule before moving on to other topics. The reaction was “move on,” so it appears as if the touchback rule when fumbling through the end zone will remain untouched for the 2024 NFL season.

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