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List of Rule Changes in Store for the 2015 Season, And Extra Points Could Still Change

Which rules are changing for the 2015 NFL season?

Andre King reaches for the sideline, but it's too late :-(
Andre King reaches for the sideline, but it's too late :-(
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

This week at the NFL Owner's Meetings, potential rule changes, bylaws, and resolutions were voted on. The results are in, with the proposals either having been passed, rejected, or tabled for further discussion in 2015. Listed below are the changes that passed, which will go into effect during the 2015 season:

NFL Rule Changes / Bylaws That Passed

  1. Game Clock Reviewable Before The End of a Half. Do you remember when WR Andre King caught a pass from QB Kelly Holcomb at the end of the Browns' playoff game in 2002 against the Steelers, but he didn't get out of bounds in time to stop the clock for a Phil Dawson field goal attempt? Well, what if King had stepped out of bounds with 1 second left, but the officials ruled that time had expired? The game would be over.

    With the rule change, the officials will be able to review the game clock to see if time should be put back on the game clock. If this is related to a play, they will review the timing of the play (i.e. going out of bounds). If it's due to a timeout being called, the review will look at when the official signaled that a timeout was called.

  2. Don't Push a Pile When Blocking Field Goals or Punts. On field goals and punts, the defense can no longer try to block the kick by pushing their own teammate into the offense (i.e. trying to gain extra leverage on one player). If caught, this will be a 15-yard penalty.

  3. Peel Back Rule Applies to All Offensive Players. Previously, peel back blocks were only illegal for players who lined up in the tackle box. Now, for player safety reasons, they are illegal for all offensive players.

  4. Defenseless Receivers After an INT. I don't know how often this really comes up, but the "defenseless receiver" rule has been extended to protect offensive receivers who get leveled immediately after an interception by the defense. In this case, the interception will stand, with 15 yards being marked off from the spot of the pick.

  5. Unsportsmanlike Conduct & Taunting at End of Half. Previously, if a player committed an unsportsmanlike conduct or taunting penalty at the end of the first or second half, the penalty was disregarded. Now, such penalties will be enforced on the first kickoff of the second half or overtime, respectively.

  6. Chop Block Extended. The chop block rule was extended, making it illegal for a back to chop a defensive player engaged above the waist by another offensive player outside the area originally occupied by the tight end.

  7. Linebacker Jersey Numbers. Previously, linebackers could only wear No. 50-59, and No. 90-99. Now, they can also wear any number from No. 40-49.

  8. Killing Creativity in Offensive Formation. The 2014 season is over, but moving forward, the Patriots' creativity in offensive formations won't be permissible. A rule passed that makes it illegal for an offensive player with an eligible number to report as ineligible and line up outside the core of the formation.

  9. Opening Domes in Second Half. Previously, if a dome was open/closed at the start of a game, that's how it stayed. Now, the dome can open/close at halftime, but there is a procedure that must be followed. First, the decision must be provided 90 minutes before the game starts. Second, the decision must include weather parameters that must be met in order to open/close the dome.

  10. Injury or Concussion Spotters. The league medical spotters will now have the ability to signal to stop the game if they spot an injury to a player or a possible concussion. Teams can substitute during this stoppage, but coaches can't go on the field to communicate with players.

  11. Short-Term IR Adjustment. Previously, if a team wanted to place a player on the short-term IR list, they had to wait until at least the Tuesday after final roster cuts were due. Now, they only have to wait one day after final roster cuts are due. The timeline for a player to practice while on the PUP list was also slightly altered, but it was nothing drastic.

The full changes described above can be read about here. The primary issue that was tabled for the May meetings involves extra points. According to Rich McKay, co-chairman of the competition committee, extra points could see a change as soon as this season. You can read more about the potential suggestions related to extra points here.