With a New NFL Season Comes New NFL Rule Changes

The 2013 NFL season reached its conclusion on Feb. 2. In the process, many individual and team accomplishments were achieved. Peyton Manning set single season records for passing yards and touchdown passes, the Seattle Seahawks won their first Super Bowl Championship, and the Kansas City Chiefs went from the league’s worst record to an 11 win season and a Wild Card playoff berth.

When a new season approaches, fans hope for bigger and better things from their favorite teams. The same teams do not always make the playoffs every year, but one thing is guaranteed, rule changes will be put into effect in order to make football exciting, have fairly contested games, and avoid injuries to the players. Some of these rules were also established to limit the level of taunting.

Key rule changes for the upcoming 2014 season include replay expansion of fumble recoveries even if the play is blown dead. This rule is called the “NaVarro Bowman rule”. In last season’s NFC Championship Game, Bowman recovered a fumble and was downed by contact. Seahawks fullback Michael Robinson stole the ball away from Bowman after he was down, giving Seattle the ball, and the play was unreviewable. Officials want to make sure that the right team gets possession of the ball following a fumble recovery.

The league passed another rule that has to do with reviewing replays. The decision was made to connect the officiating replay booth to the command center. Reasoning behind this has to do with the officials being able to communicate with the command center when it comes to discussing the plays that they are in the process of reviewing. Some controversial calls were made during the 2013 season after replay reviews and officials want to make sure that every detail is examined before making the call.

Slam dunking the ball over the goal post has been a tradition for touchdown celebrations and many famous pass catchers have participated in this ritual. Tony Gonzales, Terrell Owens, and Jimmy Graham are examples of guys who have dunked the ball over the goal post. Heading into 2014, a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct foul will be issued to any player who performs this act. Last season, Jimmy Graham performed the dunk after scoring a touchdown against the Atlanta Falcons and the impact of the dunk bent the goal post. Also, the crossbars of the goal posts have been raised from 30 feet to 35 feet to avoid these incidents.

Many people believe that these rule changes are silly and they also believe that this is just another move for Commissioner Roger Goodell to ruin the National Football League. However, they do make sense because his job is to make sure that the game is played fairly and that there are no incidents to cause delays during games. How will these rules impact the players? We will find out in about five months.