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The New rules for the 2008 NFL season

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The New rules for the 2008 NFL season

Post  Big_Pete on Tue Jul 15, 2008 11:54 pm

a little more clairification on the new rules coming in


New Rules/Points of Emphasis Review

The following write up is courtesy of the Ref, who authors our site's "Ask the Official" column on our web site.

There are a small number of new rules this year and only a few that are expected to have a significant impact on the game. The first new rule of consequence is that one defensive player may have a radio in his helmet during all scrimmage plays. Just like the offensive players, the radio will be shut off when the play clock reaches 15 seconds. The helmets will be marked with the same type of sticker that the QB’s typically have on their helmets. Expect to see the helmets, at least initially, on either the MLB or a Safety. With all of the situational substitution, it may be difficult to keep the helmet on the field at all times.

The second new rule, and possibly the one that will have the most direct impact on the game, is that there will be no “forceouts” this year. The receiver will be required to get both feet inbounds even if hit by the DB and forced against or over the sideline. Expect to see DB’s using the sideline as a 12th defensive player and attempting to time their hits with the arrival of the ball to force the receiver across the sideline. It will be easier for the officials and harder for the receivers as a result of this rule.

A third new rule is that the team winning the toss will now have the opportunity to defer its choice until the second half. This is the same rule that has been in existence in college for a number of years and appears to be used almost 50% of the time by the college coaches. So now there will be four choices: receive or kick-off, defend a specific goal, or defer. Captains have to be careful to advise the Ref that they want to “Defer” rather than that they want to “kick-off” to start the game.

A fourth new rule is that Replay can now be used on Field Goals and PATs. Don’t expect to see it used on kicks that fly over the top of the upright. It is impossible to tell from a camera where the ball was at the instant it passed over the bar. The main use will be on kicks that hit the cross bar and/or the upright and either carom back into the field or drop just over the bar. The two officials under the bar should be able to get this correct without any help.

The fifth new rule is that there will not be any 5 yard face mask penalties. All penalties associated with the face mask or helmet opening will be 15 yards and must involve grasping, twisting, yanking or other violent action. The officials have also been advised to be more aware of the use of this tactic by offensive players so expect some 15 yarders against the offense as well.

One other rule that may come up is that if the ball is snapped and it goes through the legs of the QB without being touched, it will be considered a live ball and can be advanced. In the past, this was a dead ball. The play comes up about 5 times a season so don't expect to see it too often. Points of emphasis for the new season include an effort on the part of the NFL to reduce the tensions between players and between players and officials.

Officials have been advised to address the players in a more respectful manner and to expect the same. Also, they have been advised to penalize the frequently less than friendly (and often profane) chatter between players. Expect to see more Unsportsmanlike Conduct fouls called, especially early in the season, for language and discussions that get out of hand.

Officials have also been advised to do a better job of calling fouls when a defensive player leads with his head on an offensive player. This is a safety rule and the expectation is that all such plays that warrant a fine during the week will be called on the field on Sunday. Expect to see more personal fouls (and possibly ejections) for such plays.

The same caution/direction has been given to college officials so expect to see more such penalties on Saturday as well as Sunday.

The proposed new rule about hair outside the helmet was not passed. Expect it to be reviewed and reconsidered again next year. If the hair touches anywhere out of bounds or the ground, it is considered to be a part of the body other than the hand or foot and a player will be down or out of bounds as a result.

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