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Home > The NFL Rule Changes for the 2023 Season

The NFL Rule Changes for the 2023 Season

Publish Date:July 28, 2023
Fact checked by: Chris A
The NFL Rule Changes for the 2023 Season

The NFL Rule Changes for the 2023 Season

The NFL’s 2021 season saw major rule changes that have had an unprecedented impact on the game and its fans. The 2022 season saw further adjustments, and now the 2023 season is set to bring even more alterations. On March 28, at the NFL Owners’ Meeting in Asheville, North Carolina, several new rules were ratified for implementation in 2023.

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  • The jersey numbering system underwent a modification, granting all positions eligible to wear single-digit numbers the opportunity to don the number 0. This change now permits placekickers and punters to sport numbers ranging from 0 to 49 and 90 to 99. Previously, the utilization of 0 was prohibited after the standardization of the jersey numbering system in 1973, restricting kickers and punters to numbers 1 to 19 only.
  • Timing rules are adjusted when a ruling on the field is overturned. If the two-minute warning is not reached, the play clock will be reset to 40 seconds instead of 25. However, if the two-minute warning has been reached and a 10-second runoff is implemented, the play clock will be set to 30 seconds. These modifications ensure both fairness and efficiency in the game.
  • Plays that result in a turnover on downs have been included in the list of plays that can be reviewed by the booth rather than being challengeable by coaches. However, plays that result in a successful first down can still be challenged outside of the two-minute warning.
  • The penalty for tripping has been increased from 10 yards to 15 yards, reversing a rule change implemented in 1974.
  • The act of propelling oneself off one foot to initiate an offensive move against an adversary has now been deemed unlawful, thereby altering the existing regulation that permits the use of both feet.
  • Handing the ball forward behind the line of scrimmage in an attempt to avoid a sack is now considered an illegal act resulting in a loss of down. This rule applies consistently, regardless of whether the foul occurs before or beyond the line of scrimmage.
  • Any illegal kicks that occur beyond the line of scrimmage or after the ball has returned back behind the line will now be penalized in the same manner as an illegal forward pass. This penalty entails a loss of five yards and a loss of down.
  • If the offense commits a penalty while the ball is in play, and the defense commits a penalty after the ball is dead on the last play of either half, the period will not be extended for an additional down without a time limit.
  • The language pertaining to “butt, ram, or spear” using the helmet has been consolidated as “impermissible uses of the helmet.” This clarification encompasses instances of legal incidental contact.

At the May Owners Meeting, several changes were implemented to the bylaws and rules.

  • Teams will now have the luxury of having a third quarterback available on game days without using up a valuable roster spot. This additional quarterback will come into play if the team’s first two quarterbacks are either injured or disqualified. However, suppose one of the regular quarterbacks is able to return to the game. In that case, the third quarterback will gracefully step back to the bench unless both quarterbacks become unavailable once again due to the same reasons.
  • On kickoffs, if a fair catch is made at or behind the 25-yard line, the ball will be awarded at the 25-yard line. This mirrors the college football rule that was adopted in 2018.

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