New NFL Rules And Changes For 2013

July 12, 2013 | Brian Bower

The 94th regular season of the NFL is just around the corner and teams will begin training camp later this month.

Things will look a little bit different on the football field during the 2013 season with the leagues new rule changes which were passed during the NFL owners meetings in March.

Here is a reminder ahead of time so you don’t jump up and down when a flag is or isn’t thrown.


Abolishing the “Tuck Rule” adopted in the 1999 season.

With a vote of 29-1 (Patriots Owner Robert Kraft and Redskins Owner Daniel Snyder abstaining, and Steelers Owner Art Rooney III voting against it) the quarterback saving rule is now a thing of the past. Love it or hate it, but in 2013 it will now be ruled a fumble when a quarterback loses possession of the ball after a pump fake while bringing the ball back to his body.

Tight ends and H-backs will now be permitted to wear numbers 40-49.

Stop the presses! In years past the leagues tight ends were only permitted to don jersey numbers 80-89.

“Peel-back” blocks will now result in 15-yard personal foul penalties anywhere on the field.

Previously, these type of blocks were permitted within the “tackle box.”  A player makes a peel-back block when he is moving toward his goal line, approaches an opponent from behind or the side, and makes contact below the waist. The penalty will be 15 yards. Really under no circumstances will you be permitted to block low below the waist when you’re blocking back towards your own end line,” said Rams coach Jeff Fisher in a league press release, co-chairman of the competition committee about the rule change.

On field goal attempts, long snappers will now be considered defenseless players.

The Ravens Morgan Cox should love this new rule change. The defense can have no more than six players on one side of the ball at the snap (5 yard penalty), and players not on the line cannot push teammates into blockers (15 yard penalty).

Modifying the “no-challenge” rule adopted in the 2012 season to eliminate the automatic “no-review” penalty when a coach challenges a play that is automatically reviewed by the replay booth (turnovers, scoring plays, and any play inside of the 2:00 warning).

Teams will now be charged a time-out when a coach throws a challenge flag on a booth-reviewable play (but they get the time out back if the play is reviewed and overturned) as well as a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, but the play is still reviewed if the replay booth believes a review is necessary. This change was prompted after last season’s Thanksgiving Day game when Detroit Lions’ head coach Jim Schwartz (Halethorpe, Maryland) threw a challenge flag on a play where Houston Texans’ running back Justin Forsett’s knee touched the ground, but was able to get up and score a touchdown.

Any player at least three yards downfield or outside of the “tackle box” will be penalized 15 yards for leading with the helmet on hits.

Perhaps the most debate by owners came with the crown of the helmet hits rule, which will affect running backs the most. The vote was 31-1 with the Cincinnati Bengals voting against the new rule. This rule will no doubt affect the way ball carriers will play the game. It will now be a 15-yard penalty if a player who is more than three yards downfield or outside of the tackle box delivers a blow with the crown of his helmet. If the offensive and defensive player each lowers his head and uses the crown of the helmet to make contact, each will be penalized.


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