The NFL released a memo on Tuesday explaining the approved rule changes for the 2021 NFL season. In all, there were seven rule changes dealing with game play and one approved bylaw concerning player visits and tryouts.
Approved 2021 Playing Rules and Bylaws: pic.twitter.com/p8X5sTNoGN— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 21, 2021
To highlight the most notable rule changes, the first one was eliminating overtime from preseason games. While many coaches did their best to avoid overtime late in games by either going for two or other various scenarios, now there will be no need to change up strategy as games will simply end in a tie.
Another rule change which was accepted was giving more authority to the replay official in order to communicate with the on-filed officials in certain situations. While it is a far cry from the previously proposed “Eye in the Sky” official who can make calls in front of a TV screen by using the sky cam, it will allow more specific plays, such as completions, ball placement, and a player being down by contact, to have information passed on to the officials on the field. Exactly how this will be implemented will still need some clarification.
One of the most notable rule changes is expanding the number of positions who can wear single-digit uniforms. The new approved list of numbers based on position can be seen here courtesy of NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero:
Under the new rule, players will be able to wear ...— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) April 21, 2021
Defensive backs: 1–49
Running backs, full backs, tight ends, H-backs, and wide receivers: 1–49 and 80-89
Offensive linemen: 50–79;
Defensive linemen: 50–79 and 90–99;
Linebackers: 1–59 and 90–99. https://t.co/EhTnOVX7RJ
Exactly what the rules will be for players changing numbers has yet to be determined. There was no announcement if there will be a change in the policy, which requires players who change number to buy back unsold jerseys. Whether or not any Steelers players choose to change their uniform number remains to be seen.
Some other rule changes include having a penalty for two forward passes on the same play also is now a loss of down. Another rule change will limit the number of players on the receiving team being within 25 yards of the kickoff, making onside kicks slightly easier after a record low in successful attempts in 2020. The final rule change accepted will make sure all penalties on successive point after tries are all enforced. When this rule was proposed, I had given a breakdown as to exactly what it meant.
The only new bylaw that was presented in the NFL‘s memo was requiring clubs to submit to the league office the names of players who try out and visit at any time during the year.
So what do you think of the new rules for the NFL? While some still need some clarity, is there any major changes that the NFL should have left alone? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.