2023 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 2023 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.

2023 NFL Rules Changes


New for 2023, when an instant replay decision results in a reversal under 2:00, the play clock will be reset to :40 instead of :25; unless another rule requires otherwise, such as when there is also a :10 runoff, in which case the play clock will be reset to :30.

Additionally, inside 2:00, reversing from a ruling with a stopped clock to one with a running clock requires either a :10 second runoff or a charged team timeout.

(AP/John McGillen)

(AP/John McGillen)


All failed fourth-down conversions will now be an automatic booth review, similar to other turnover situations. Head coaches are prohibited from challenging a failed fourth-down conversion.

However, successful fourth-down conversions still require a coach to challenge unless they occur inside the two-minute warning or during overtime.

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's body. 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.

Beginning in 2023, the rule was modified to prevent a player from using any part of his helmet or face mask to butt or make forcible contact to an opponent’s head or neck area.


Starting in 2023, tripping is now a personal foul, 15-yard penalty and is subject to additional discipline whether it is called or not called on the field by officials.

What is tripping? The use of the leg or foot to obstruct any opponent (including a runner).