The Rules

NFL Football Operations protects the integrity of the game by ensuring that the rules and the officiating are consistent and fair to all competitors.

About The Rules

The NFL’s rules have continued to evolve since football’s earliest days — always changing to protect the league’s integrity and make the game fairer, safer and more entertaining. See how today’s rules have come about through testing, analysis and careful deliberation, and how the game has evolved into the sport beloved by millions today.

NFL Video Rulebook

The NFL Video Rulebook, narrated by Rich Eisen, brings rules to life with video examples of certain penalties and demonstrations of what the league’s officials look for when they call fouls.

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2020 NFL Rulebook

Explore the official rules of the game with this searchable version of the official 2020 NFL Rulebook.

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Evolution Of The NFL Rules

Learn how NFL rules have evolved from the days when a forward pass was permitted only once during a series of downs to the high-octane game that millions around the world love today. 

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Signals Intelligence

Officials in the NFL communicate with the familiar hand signals that fans have become accustomed to, but it wasn't always that way. See how early signals helped fans better understand the game.

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