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NFL Rule Changes: Breaking Down Which Proposals Were Passed, Not Passed And Tabled On Wednesday

On Wednesday, NFL owners voted on the proposed rule changes for the 2012 season. Several of the proposals were passed, a couple of them were not and a few others were tabled, meaning they will likely be reevaluated at the owners meetings in May.

A full breakdown of what is changing and what isn't changing can be found after the jump (much of this is via Pro Football Talk's solid rundown of the different changes).


  • Overtime rules for the playoffs now will be in effect for the regular season as well. This means that should a game in the regular season see a team kick a field goal on the opening possession of overtime, the other team will get the ball. To win on the first possession, teams will need to score a touchdown.
  • If a player kicks a loose ball and is penalized, there will be a loss of down.
  • The college version of the rule for too many men on the field has been adopted. This means that if a team has too many men on offense and is lined up for more than three seconds, there will be a dead-ball penalty of five yards. On defense, if teams line up with too many men and the "snap is imminent," a penalty will be assessed.
  • Defensive players can no longer be hit in the head or neck area on crackback blocks.
  • All turnovers will be automatically reviewed like scoring plays were last season. (While all end zone plays will not be reviewed like Lions fans had hoped following the situation in the Packers game last season involving Titus Young, Detroit would have had a challenge to get the call changed if this new rule was in place back then. They lost their challenges on turnovers, and starting this season, plays like that will be automatically reviewed by the booth.)
  • Roster rules for teams playing on Thanksgiving and Christmas have been modified. Here's how (from Brian McIntyre): "The one bylaw change that passed was making Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day (on a day other than Sunday) a customary business day for the purpose of Player Personnel transactions. This means that teams playing night games on Thanksgiving Day or Christmas Day night games on days other than a Sunday can make roster changes prior to 4pm ET on that day."

Didn't pass:

  • Moving all replays to the booth.
  • Removing the exception in the horse-collar tackle rule that allows quarterbacks to be horse-collared in the pocket.

Tabled (likely until May):

  • Proposal to move the trade deadline from Week 6 to Week 8.
  • Proposal to expand rosters to 90 players in the offseason (and count unsigned draft picks against the roster).
  • Proposal to move up the final day of roster cuts to a Friday for 2012 (currently it's on a Saturday).
  • Proposal to add an injured reserve exemption that allows players to be designated to return to practice after six weeks and to a game after eight weeks if they are on the roster through the first week of the season.
  • Proposal to add one roster exemption per team each week if a player is inactive because he has a concussion.

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