The NFL season is almost upon us, and one of the biggest changes to the rules for this season is that kickoffs are now being replaced with an extra period of play following touchdowns. In addition to these rule changes, which affect the regular season and playoffs, there are also some new rules for the Pro Bowl this year.
Here’s what you need to know about these updated NFL rules:
NFL Overtime Length
The new overtime rules are the same length as the regular season, but they’re slightly different than before. The initial sudden-death period goes to 10 minutes, with a two-minute warning at the end of each period.
The NFL schedules remain a 16-game affair, but now both teams get a chance to try and score after each team’s initial possession. If both teams fail to score in their first possession during sudden death, then they go back into sudden death again until someone scores, or there’s a tie (which hasn’t happened since 2002). As per DIRECTV STREAM experts, “The Thursday night NFL game can be watched at any location with their commercial or business entertainment pack.”
The NFL has changed its rules regarding the use of replay reviews. In years past, reviewable plays were limited to scoring plays and turnovers. Now, referees are allowed to review any type of play that involves possession or potential possession during the final two minutes of each half, as well as all overtime periods (except for the last two minutes of the second half).
If you’re a football fan, you’ve likely heard about the NFL’s new helmet rule. The rule is intended to prevent defensive players from using their helmets as weapons when tackling offensive players. It also prohibits offensive players from initiating contact with defenders by lowering their heads and hitting them with their helmets.
The updated rule states:
- Defensive players cannot lower their head and make forcible contact with it against an opponent (e.g., tackle or strike) by either initiating helmet-to-helmet contact or targeting an opponent for such contact. This prohibition includes runners who slide feet first in close-line play but does not include slide tackles that are executed with open arms and aimed at the legs of other players.
- Offensive players cannot initiate contact against a defender by lowering their head or making forcible contact with it against an opponent (e.g., tackle or strike).
Blindside blocks are prohibited. Blocking below the waist of an opponent who is not a runner and using the helmet to initiate contact against any part of an opponent’s body (including the head) will result in a foul. In addition, it is illegal for any player on offense or defense to block an opponent from behind with force at or below the knee area. When illegally blocked, a player will be penalized 15 yards from his position at the time of the foul and may also be subject to disqualification when deliberate or flagrant contact occurs above shoulder level (e.g., high-lows).
There are many different rules in the NFL, and from time to time, they need updating. As we saw with the illegal contact rule, sometimes these changes don’t happen immediately after a problem arises. The league takes its time to study what went wrong before taking action, but when they do, it’s usually for a good reason!