Every year we get a slate of adjustments to the NFL’s rulebook that come out of the annual Owners’ Meetings.
Some years we see profound changes, like the recent adjustments to the rules regarding the completion of a catch, or the composition of the practice squad. Other years we get smaller changes, and this year, the biggest outcome of the Owner’s Meeting might have been the decision to not consider outlawing the “tush push” on fourth downs. There was a proposal to make it illegal for backfield players to push the quarterback on sneaks.
That was a decided win for the New York Giants divisional rival Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagle were one of the very best 4th down teams in the NFL last year, 68.8 percent of their 4th down attempts — a dramatic improvement from their 45.8 percent success rate a year ago. The Giants improved too, converting 47.6 percent of their fourth downs, up from 43.3 percent in 2021. The Eagles’ success was based off of the quarterback sneak, but they went so far as to build an entire offensive package off of the play.
The NFL also declined to consider making Roughing The Passer penalties reviewable by coach’s challenge.
The 0 Block
The biggest actual change to come out of this year’s meetings came from a proposal by the Eagles to allow players at (most) positions to wear “0”.
Offensive and defensive linemen can’t wear 0, but every other position is now eligible to do so.
- Quarterbacks can wear 0-19
- Receivers, running backs fullbacks, and tight ends can wear 0-49, 80-89
- Offensive linemen can wear 50-79 (no change)
- Defensive backs can wear 0-49
- Linebackers can wear 0-59, 90-99
- Defensive linemen can wear 50-79, 90-99 (no change)
- Punters and Kickers can wear 0-49, 90-99 (changed from 1-19)
- Make adjusting the play clock following an instant replay reversal consistent other timing rules. (Proposed by the Los Angeles Chargers)
- Expand official review jurisdiction to failed fourth down conversions. (Proposed by the Houston Texans)
- Change the definition of a “launch” to leaving one or two feet. (Proposed by the competition committee)
- Make the penalty for tripping a personal foul. (Competition committee)
- Make the penalty for illegally handing the ball forward consistent with other illegal acts such as illegal forward passes — 5-yard penalty from the spot of the pass. (Competition committee)
- Make the penalty for illegal punts, dropkicks, or placekicks consistent with other illegal acts such as illegal forward passes (Competition committee)
- Prevent the offense from benefitting from an extension of the half by their own foul. (Competition committee)
- Clarify the use of the helmet against an opponent, removing the “butt, ram, spear” language and incorporating those acts into the “Impermissible Use of The Helmet” rule. (Competition comittee)