The New NFL Rules You Need to Know

Few things in this world are as predictable as life, death and the NFL tinkering with its rulebook every season. Here is an overview of the new NFL rules you need to know heading into the 2017 season.

Celebration time!

Sick of its No Fun Moniker, the league modified what constitutes excessive celebration. Players who score can now use the football as a prop, roll on the group and celebrate with teammates. (Yes, these acts of positive adrenaline were previously illegal.)

Any celebrations that use the football as a weapon, are too sexually suggestive or taunt opponents will still draw a 15-yard penalty.

Defenseless player expands

A defender who unnecessarily comes at a wide receiver running a route across the field from either the back or side will now draw a 15-yard defensive player penalty. Previously this player safety driven penalty was mostly called on defenders against receivers who had yet to become runners or quarterbacks who were in the process of the throw or second after it. (This rule expansion has been the radar and the first flag will undoubtedly be a surprise to many.)

No more leaping on field goals

Last season a special teams strategy gained steam: Send a defensive player in a perfectly timed leap over the head of a lineman in an effort to block the kick. It worked for the Patriots and Seahawks and would likely be tried by other teams, except it has been banned. While the play is incredibly fun to watch the safety hazard is palpable.

No clock manipulation

One of John Harbaugh’s favorite strategies – egregiously holding opponents to run out the clock – will now come with a penalty. A team may not commit multiple fouls during the same down in an attempt to manipulate the game clock. The fine will be 15 yards.

Less overtime doldrums

There have been several instances over the past two seasons where two teams (one of whom is often the Rams) went to overtime and did a fabulous job convincing viewers there would be no scoring. Well now there will be less time to catch up fidget pinner listicles because overtime is now reduced from 15 minutes to 10 minutes.

Centralized replay review

Say goodbye to the days of referees leisurely making their way to the sideline ‘hood’ to consider a play under review. The replay process will now be centralized with the final decision coming from the head of officiating in New York. This rule is twofold: 1) Minimize mistakes. 2) Reduce game time. Those officials may be in shape but my neighbor’s three-legged dog is beating most of them to the sideline.