Sports

The NFL doesn’t make the rules, they just… wait, yes they do


NFL officials Jerome Boger and Tony Steratore gaze into the replay box.

NFL officials Jerome Boger and Tony Steratore gaze into the replay box.
Image: Getty Images

Every year, the NFL comes together to throw out new rules which tend to confuse us, screw our teams, and sometimes both. So pay attention. Because, today, the league and team owners agreed to pass these new rules for the 2021 season.

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Let’s break ‘em down in no particular order.

Competition Committee; to amend Rule 16, to eliminate overtime in the preseason.

I don’t think I’ve ever watched a preseason game long enough to realize that overtime was ever a possibility. I mean, can you think of a bigger waste of time and space than preseason overtime? It’s almost as useless as the NFL Hall of Fame Game.

The NFL did the right thing here, only a few decades late.

Kansas City; to amend Rule 5, Section 1, Article 2, to expand jersey number options for certain positions.

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Yeah, it might be weird to see running backs in the single digits or linebackers with low numbers. But it’s kinda cool, too. Plus, no one seems to mind in college football. So why not give it a shot?

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Competition Committee; to amend Rule 6, Section 1, Article 3, for one year only, to establish a maximum number of players in the setup zone.

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Onside kicks just got a lot more exciting. For one season, the league will experiment with allowing nine players (max) in the “setup zone,” i.e. between 10 and 25 yards from the kickoff spot. The mismatch will make it easier for kicking teams to recover the football.

Los Angeles Rams; to amend Rule 8, Section 1, Article 2, to add a loss of down for a second forward pass from behind the line and for a pass thrown after the ball returns behind the line.

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You know you can write rules without confusing the shit out of us, right NFL? Anyway, just know that no team can do this again:

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Now you know why the Rams introduced this oddly specific rule change.

Competition Committee, Coaches Subcommittee, and Baltimore; to amend Rule 15, Section 3, Article 9, and Rule 19, Section 2, to permit the Replay Official and designated members of the Officiating department to provide certain objective information to the on-field officials.

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According to multiplereports, replay officials up in the press box can now consult and advise on-field refs on “specific, objective aspects of a play when clear and obvious video evidence is present and/or to address game administration issues.”

For whatever reason, replay officials did not often participate in analyzing plays under review. That will change this year.

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Chicago; to amend Rule 11, Section 3, Article 3, to ensure the enforcement of all accepted penalties committed by either team during successive try attempts.

Cool. I already don’t care.

In addition to these rules, the NFL is also expected to call more taunting penalties this year. But… which ones? No more peace signs? Are any TD celebrations off limits?

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“The face to face, the pointing of fingers, the standing over players on the ground,” are all no-goes, according to Rich McKay, chairman of the NFL Competition Committee.

And what’s not on the new list, you ask? Oh yeah. The stupid end zone fumble rule, of course.

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So what if it happens a handful of times a year? Fix it!

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