NFL Rule Changes For 2013 Season


September 16, 2012; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Houston Texans defensive end Jared Crick (93) tackles Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew (32) during the first half at EverBank Field. The Texans defeated the Jaguars 27-7. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL has passed a number of new rules for the 2013 season.  Perhaps most importantly is the new rule limiting the ability of an offensive player to lower their head and lead with the crown of the helmet.  But I get ahead of myself.  Here are the new rules for 2013 to keep in mind when watching football this season.

1.  Elimination of the “Tuck Rule”

  • “When [an offensive] player is holding the ball to pass it forward, any intentional forward movement of his arm starts a forward pass, even if the player loses possession of the ball as he is attempting to tuck it back toward his body. Also, if the player has tucked the ball into his body and then loses possession, it is a fumble.” By now, the infamous rule is familiar to most regular football watchers.  It has been one of the more controversial rules in the NFL and its elimination (in a 29-1 vote) is a logical step by the league.  The Pittsburgh Steelers were the only team to vote against its elimination.

2.  Challenge Flag Rule

  • A ridiculous rule that removed an automatic review if the coach challenged a play has been changed so that this redundancy will not penalize a team, like Detroit Lions’ head coach Jim Schwartz, for being overeager in getting the call right.  While the change to the rule will allow the automatic review to take place, coaches may be penalized with the loss of a timeout, depending on when he threw the flag.

3.  Offensive Contact Initiation

  • The NFL also voted and approved the implementation of a new rule that limits where and when an offensive player can lower his head to push through defenders.  Ball carriers will now only be allowed to lower their head and lead with the crown of their helmet when within the tackle box (the area between the left tackle and right tackle).  If leading with the crown of the helmet outside of the tackle box, a 15-yard penalty will be assessed at the spot of the foul.  The discernment of intentional leading with the crown and unintentional leading with the crown of the helmet will be left up to the official.  This rule is designed to deal with the most obvious violations.

– Luke N. Sims

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