The results of the 2023 DFL rules voting are in! There were just six proposals on the ballot and only three of them have passed.
Let’s take a look at the results and my analysis of each one. If you want the voting breakdown, you can view the results here.
Note: These rules will take effect immediately.
- Should new rules take effect the following calendar year?
DFL owners felt it was important to hold off implementing new rules for at least a year to give teams time to adjust to potential ramifications from the fallout of such rules. By a vote of 7-5, DFL owners voted to enact any new rule proposals the following calendar year. Since the DFL votes in February, new rules will go into effect Jan. 1 — or, technically, at the conclusion of the previous season, whatever calendar day that day falls on. (Note: As stated in the proposal, this does not affect any rules that were passed this year. The two other rules that passed this year will go into effect immediately.)
- Should we change the trade deadline date from the end of Week 12 to the end of Week 14?
By another slim margin, DFL owners voted, 7-5, to push back the trade deadline date to the end of Week 14, which is the end of the league’s regular season. This will give owners another two weeks to attempt to make a playoff run before they decide if they want to become sellers at the trade deadline. In this writer’s humble opinion, the effect of the deadline switch won’t really matter a lot, as I expect most teams to know if they’re contenders or not far before the final week of the regular season, and will likely sell off assets before that date anyway.
- Should we change the draft order for non-playoff teams from worst record to fewest optimal points?
In a near-unanimous vote, the league voted to change the draft order for non-playoff teams from worst record to fewest optimal points. By a tally of 11-1, DFL owners felt that the true measure of a team’s weakness is how few points they would have scored even if they had played their best lineup each week rather than how few wins they accumulated throughout the season. The league felt that this rule would help prevent teams with good players from stashing those guys on their benches in order to get a higher draft pick. This rule will now disincentivize lineup shenanigans and promote better matchups down the stretch of the regular season.
- If a team runs out of cash and wants to sign a player, should they be allowed to borrow against next season’s budget?
By a vote of 8-4, DFL owners rejected a proposal that would allow teams to borrow against their cap the following season. Whether it was a competitive disadvantage for the other teams in the league, or playing with fire with financial implications, the majority of league owners felt it was best not to pass this rule. From my perspective, I view this in the same light as two other rules that currently are on the books: First, the league does not allow teams to trade draft picks more than 3 drafts into the future. Second, the league does not allow veteran contracts to be ascending in value. The reason for these two rules is that we do not want any franchise to be left in peril should any owner decide to sell his team and leave the league. This rule proposal falls into a similar category.
- Should seeds 7 & 8 be determined by record?
All rule proposals require a simple plurality of votes to pass, and our last two proposals failed due to a 50-50 split. Half the league’s owners felt it wasn’t necessary to change playoff seeds 7 and 8 from points scored to record, so there will be no change to the way playoffs are determined for the 2023 season.
- Should we award an extra win each week to teams that beat the median score?
Similar to the previous proposal, this one failed due to a 50-50 split. The league was undecided and not convinced about adding an extra win each week to teams that score more than the league median for that week. From my perspective, despite my disdain for “fantasy luck,” I feel that it would only further separate the good teams from the bad ones to award extra wins to the highest-scoring teams. I feel that the current rule, awarding the four wild cards to the highest-scoring non-division winners, should separate the good teams from the bad ones, anyway. And finally, because the proposal of the 7 and 8 seeds failed, adding wins would have become arbitrary for the most part — or, at least, far less effective in getting teams into the playoffs.