NFL Makes Rule Changes for 2021
The league passed new rules proposals today.
- Player number restrictions were massively relaxed. Basically, anybody who isn't an offensive lineman or a defensive lineman can now wear any number from 1-49, plus the numbers they could wear previously (80s for wide receivers and tight ends, 50s and 90s for linebackers). This is going to make things fun for players who can bring their numbers from college to the pros. It's going to be annoying for Football Outsiders since we tend to store players with play-by-play IDs that include number, and now those will be harder to filter by position.
- A Chicago proposal passed that ensures the enforcement of all accepted penalties during extra point/two-point conversion tries (explained here).
- A Rams proposal passed that makes it a loss of down to throw a second forward pass on the same down.
- The receiving team on kickoffs will be limited to nine players in the "setup zone" in an attempt to make recovering onside kicks more likely.
- There will be no overtime during the preseason.
The infamous "fourth-and-15" onside kick proposal made by the Philadelphia Eagles was officially tabled for later, along with a Buffalo proposal to move the hiring cycle for new coaches back until after the playoffs. In addition, no changes were made to overtime, such as Baltimore's suggestion of the "spot and choose" concept.