The NFL Competition Committee receives and considers input from coaches, general managers, owners, current players and NFL Legends, the NFL Players Association, medical personnel and the media, and conducts hours of discussion and film study before recommending changes to any rule.
During this process, the Committee asks several questions about each potential rule change:
The league reviews changes with players, coaches and officials during training camp and the NFL Officiating Clinic to help everyone adapt to the rule changes and points of emphasis. The Officiating Department also provides training videos for players and coaches with specific examples.
The Competition Committee voted to expand the rule that protects a player in a defenseless position to include a kickoff or punt returner who is attempting to field a kick in the air, but who has not had time to clearly become a runner. If the player can avoid or ward off impending contact, he is no longer defenseless.
Beginning in the 2020 season, if the offense commits a foul after the ball is made ready for play and causes the clock to stop before a snap during the fourth quarter or overtime, the game clock will start on the snap. Previously, if the clock was stopped for a foul before the five-minute mark of the fourth quarter, the clock would start on the referee’s signal.
The Committee has made permanent that reviews of the following types of plays can only be initiated by the replay official, even if a foul on the play negates the ruling:
The Officiating Department will continue to emphasize the Use of Helmet rule, first adopted in 2018.
The officiating standards for the Use of Helmet rule are:
The Committee is in support of issuing warning letters for any Use of the Helmet fouls in the interior line.