Rules change proposals in NFL

Among the proposals we have no. 0 jerseys, reviewable roughing the passer, and alternative for onside kicks

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Every year the NFL holds an annual league meeting. Among other things, this is an option for them to discuss and vote on potential changes in the league. This year’s meeting happens this week and here are some of the rules change proposals in the NFL for the 2023 season.

Jersey numbers

Starting with the proposals that don’t interfere in the game. The Philadelphia Eagles made a couple of suggestions for the teams to vote. One is to include the number 0 (zero) as an official number available for the players to wear on their jerseys, and the other is to allow kickers and punters to use numbers between 0-49 and 90-99, as it is in college football.

Let’s remember that in 2020 the league approved a change in jerseys numbers rules by allowing wide receivers, tight ends, running backs, linebackers and defensive backs to wear different numbers. Check out the table to understand the changes and what numbers each position is/was allowed to wear.

PositionPrior 2020After 2020
QBs, K and P1-191-19
RBs20-191-49 and 80-89
WRs10-19 and 80-891-49 and 80-89
TEs40-49 and 80-891-49 and 80-89
DLs50-79 and 90-9950-79 and 90-99
LBs40-59 and 90-991-59 and 90-99

Reviewable roughing the passer

Now let’s start talking about proposals actually impacting the games. The Los Angeles Rams proposed to allow the referees to review roughing the passer calls. This was the main problem with the refs last season as they blow a lot of games with unbelievable calls. This would allow them to take a look at it.

The Detroit Lions even proposed that all personal fouls could be challenged by the coaches.

4th-and-20 or onside kick

Another huge proposal by the Philadelphia Eagles. They are suggesting that the league create an alternative to the onside kicks, which are less and less successful every season. The proposal says that after a team score, they could opt for a 4th-and-20 from their own 20-yard line.

That means that after a team scores, if they want to try to keep the possession, instead of trying an onside kick, they would have to gain 20 yards in one play to keep the ball. This would be something very similar to the XFL 4th-and-15, which are already being used this season.

Other proposals

By the teams

  • Chargers: Adjust the play clock following an instant replay reversal consistent with other timing rules.
  • Lions: Provide clubs with more opportunities for a third challenge.
  • Lions: Expand the replay official’s jurisdiction to allow for consultation regarding penalty assessment.
  • Texans: Expand the replay official’s jurisdiction to allow for review on failed fourth-down attempts.
  • Jets: To expand the crackback prohibition to players who go in motion and go beyond the center to block (“split-flow block”) a defender below the waist.

By the committee

  • To change the definition of a launch to leaving one or both feet.
  • To make the penalty for tripping a personal foul.
  • To make the penalty for illegally handing the ball forward consistent with other illegal acts, such as illegal forward passes.
  • To make the penalty for illegal punts, drop kicks, or placekicks consistent with other illegal acts, such as illegal forward passes.
  • To put the ball in play at the receiving team’s 25-yard line when a touchback occurs from a punt.
  • To prevent the offense from benefitting by an extension of the half as a result of their foul.
  • To put the ball in play at the receiving team’s 25-yard line if there is a fair catch on a free kick (kickoff and safety kick) behind the receiving team’s 25-yard line.
  • To clarify use of the helmet against an opponent by removing the “butt, ram, spear” language from Article 8 and incorporating those actions into Impermissible Use of the Helmet.
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