Learn about the new NFL rules in Season 2021

We are only two weeks away from Kickoff 2021, when the Cowboys visit the Buccaneers on Thursday, September 9 at 7:20 p.m. Central Mexico. As in every campaign, the league made modifications within the game and therefore in this article we present the new rules implemented for the 2021 NFL Season.

No more overtime in preseason games

Rule 16

This is self explanatory. Any of the preseason games that end in a tie will end as such. Previously, the overtime rules were the same as those of the regular season, but since 2021, the overtime in preseason it was canceled.

A maximum of players allowed in the setup zone during kickoffs

Rule 6, Section 1, Article 3

In 2020, until the moment the ball was kicked, the teams that received a kickoff had to have at least eight players lined up within the so-called “setup zone”, which is the space that starts from ten yards between the ball (when it is about to be kicked) and the first defensive players, and that it is spread for the next 15 yards. This means that if the ball is placed at the 35-yard line (as is usual for a kickoff), eight players from the receiving team must be placed between the opponent’s 45-yard line and the 40-yard line of their own field.

Returning to the topic, although eight players was the minimum to populate the setup zone, there was no maximum limit. Now the NFL decided that a maximum of nine players can be inside this zone, which means that there must be at least two players outside of it when the team in question receives a kickoff.

With this regulation, the NFL will provide more excitement and competition, probably based on the low conversion rates of short kicks, since previously, teams filled this area with up to 10 players to recover the onside kicks. But starting in 2021, this would be illegal training.

Replay officers may provide information to field officers

Rule 15, Section 3, Article 9, and Rule 19, Section 2

From this 2021, the officials in charge of the repetitions will be able to help the field officials in the following situations without the need for any type of red scarf on the part of the teams:

  • Ball possession
  • Complete or incomplete passes
  • Touch of a fumble as it relates to the side lines, goal line or end line.
  • Position of the ball / player in relation to the side lines, scrimmage line, first down line and goal line
  • Down by contact (when previously down has not been marked in the field)

It should be noted that each of these issues can still be challenged by the teams, but now the officials on the field can consult with the replay officials if there is a problem with the decision made within the game.

Sarah Thomas, NFL Referee
Sarah Thomas, NFL Referee

Ensuring the application of penalties for extra point attempts and two-point conversion

Rule 11, Section 3, Article 3

If a penalty results in an extra point retry or two-point conversion, the scoring team will have the option of enforcing the penalty from the place where they scored. try previous or from the marked yard (due to the nature of the penalty and if applicable) for the new attempt.

In other words, this will ensure that the scoring team receives compensation for the new foul committed by the special teams defending the try.

Loss of down to second forward pass penalty

Rule 8, Section 1, Article 2

Previously, when a team committed a penalty for making two front passes on the same play (which usually happens when a player attempts to make a side pass that turns out to be overtaken), the corresponding penalty was only five yards. However, a loss of down will now also be incurred for the same penalty, in addition to the five yards.

This new rule also affects the rare occasion when the ball crosses the line of scrimmage, then returns behind the line and then attempts a forward pass. This is still illegal, and now it will also be hurt by the corresponding loss of down, coupled with the five yards.

Change in numbers on players’ jerseys

Rule 5, Section 1, Article 2

The NFL has limits on which positions can have which numbers. The main purpose of this is to be able to designate eligible receivers to receive the ball from the ineligible. But this year, while the NFL will keep the eligible / ineligible designations intact, it decided to loosen the position numbering restrictions. These are the new ranges allowed:

  • Quarterbacks: 1-19
  • Runners: 1-49, 80-89
  • Tight ends: 1-49, 80-89
  • Receivers: 1-49, 80-89
  • Offensive linemen: 50-79
  • Defensive linemen: 50-79, 90-99
  • Linebackers: 1-59, 90-99
  • Secondary defenses: 1-49

A note about this rule: if a player wishes to change his number for the 2021 season, he must personally purchase the entire stock of existing jerseys from the respective distributors, reported Kevin Seifert from ESPN. However, they will not be required to do so if they want to change their number for next year. For more information and implications, we leave you this article.

These are the new rules for the 2021 NFL Season. What do you think of the modifications made by the league? We read you in the comments under this article and on our social networks.

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