The NFL, each year, tweaks and changes rules based on a review from the previous year, as well as from suggestions from the coaches during their meetings.
We know of a couple of rule changes dealing with the height of the field goal poles as well as with the banning of the full face masks. The NFL has just announced a couple more rule changes that could effect penalties as well as extra points and fumbles.
Here is a list of the 2 rule changes that will affect penalties, 1 for the fumbles and 1 that could affect the extra points.
1. Defensive holding
Anderson said defensive holding will be a big point of emphasis during the 2014 season. It used to be the case that if a defensive back grabbed hold of a receiver’s jersey and it didn’t affect the play, he could get away with it. That will no longer be the case in 2014. After observing Bills practice on Friday, Anderson said he expects to have to throw the flag for defensive holding quite a bit on Saturday.
2. Illegal contact
Similar to defensive holding, the rules have been tweaked a bit for illegal contact. The rule used to state that if the quarterback was in the process of throwing to the opposite side of the field from which the illegal contact is taking place, or if the quarterback was in the process of being sacked, the referee would not throw the flag for illegal contact. Now, as long as the quarterback is in the pocket, illegal contact can be called.
It’s a particularly tough rule for officials to keep track of, because once they notice the illegal contact, they need to direct their attention to the quarterback to determine whether a flag should be thrown.
3. Fumbles now reviewable even if officials didn’t see it
It used to be that if a fumble in the field of play hadn’t been called by an official, you couldn’t review it. It happened in the NFC championship between the Seahawks and 49ers. The play will now be reviewable. Like any other booth review, officials will need to see clear evidence of a recovery in order to overturn a call, but this will definitely come into play at some point during the season.
4. Extra point experiment
During the first few weeks of the preseason, including the Hall of Fame Game, the NFL will be experimenting with a new rule for extra points. The ball will now be placed at the 20-yard line rather than the 2-yard line in order to make for a more challenging kick. If a team elects to go for a two-point conversion, they will be able to do so from the 2-yard line. This rule is still only in the experimental phase, so don’t be alarmed when you see it early in the preseason.