2022 Rules Changes and Points of Clarification

The NFL is committed to protecting players from unnecessary risk, while keeping the game fair, competitive and exciting.

Learn about the 2022 rules changes.

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 weeks of discussion and video study before recommending changes to any rule.

During this process, the Committee asks several questions about each potential rule change:

  • Does the change improve the game?
  • How will it be officiated?
  • How will it be coached?
  • Can the player apply the rule on the field?
  • Does the change enhance player protection?

The league reviews changes with players, coaches and officials during off-season meetings, 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.

2022 NFL Rules Changes

(AP/Ben Liebenberg)

(AP/Ben Liebenberg)

Overtime in the Postseason

Beginning in 2022, both teams will have the opportunity to possess the ball in overtime in the postseason. If the team that possesses the ball first does not score on its initial possession or if the score is tied after each team has had the opportunity to possess the ball, the next score will win the game.  

Free Kick Formation

The rule change from last year is now permanent. During a free kick, all receiving team players must be inbounds and behind their restraining line, and at least eight, but no more than nine, players must be positioned between their restraining line and a spot 15 yards behind their setup zone. 

Points of Clarification

Use of Helmet

The Officiating Department will continue to emphasize the Use of Helmet rule, first adopted in 2018.

Video Rulebook: Use of Helmet

The officiating standards for the Use of Helmet rule are: 

  • Lowering the head (not to include bracing for contact)
  • Initiating contact with the helmet to any part of an opponent. Contact does not have to be to an opponent’s head or neck area — lowering the head and initiating contact to an opponent’s torso, hips, and lower body, is also a foul.


For the second consecutive year, the NFL Competition Committee, NFL coaches, and the NFL Players Association all strongly recommended that the taunting of an opponent be a point of emphasis to continue to promote good sportsmanship and respect for opponents.

What is taunting? Any flagrant acts or remarks that deride, mock, bait, or embarrass an opponent.

Two taunting penalties committed by an individual player in the same game will result in an automatic disqualification. In addition, the taunting player may be subject to additional discipline depending on the severity of the action.