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New rules for NFL season

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New rules for NFL season

CREATED Sep 8, 2011

With a new NFL season upon us, I thought it might be a good idea to provide a primer on some new rules that will take effect his season. These rules are decided upon well in advance of the season and are often forgotten. Hope this helps make your armchair quarterbacking more enjoyable...or at least more efficient.

Kickoffs: Due to an increasing number of injuries on kickoffs, several rules have been changed to make those plays safer for both the kicking and receiving teams. The kicking team's restraining line has been moved to its own 35-yard line. The kicking team formation for kickoffs has also been adjusted so all players other than the kicker must be lined up no more than five yards behind the restraining line.

Existing unnecessary roughness rules have been standardized and protection for defenseless players has been expanded, including additional safeguards for defenseless receivers, players who receive "blindside" blocks and quarterbacks, kickers and punters on changes of possession.

Illegal "launching," which has been defined as a player leaving both feet prior to contact to spring forward and upward into an opponent and delivering a blow with any part of the helmet, has been prohibited.

Roughing the passer rules have been clarified so hits to the head of a passer by an opponent's hands, arms, or other parts of the body will not result in fouls unless they are forcible blows.

Two adjustments were made to instant replay procedures in the interest of competitive fairness:

  1. The replay official will now initiate reviews of all scoring plays throughout the game from the booth, allowing confirmation of all scoring plays and providing more flexibility to coaches in the use of their challenges.
  2. Teams will now be penalized 15 yards for initiating a challenge after a foul that prevents the next snap. This prevents a team from challenging the previous play if it commits a pre-snap foul.

Dead-ball personal fouls by either team at the end of a half will now be enforced on the ensuing kickoff of the third quarter, eliminating the extension of a half after a five- or 15-yard penalty enforcement that includes a dead-ball personal foul against the defense. This ensures consistent enforcement for all dead-ball personal fouls on both the offense and defense in these situations.

Field color: Absent prior approval from the NFL, the surface of the entire field must be a league-approved shade of green, preserving the uniform appearance of all NFL games.

All rules that encourage player safety will continue to be strictly enforced, including runners grasping the facemask of defensive players, horse-collar tackles, chop blocks and clipping. The focus will be on eliminating these tactics from the game.

There will also be points of emphasis on several existing rules this season (although the rules themselves have not changed).

Source: the NFL