Ahead of the 2016 season, NFL Football Operations issued a memo to all 32 clubs reminding them that fighting is once again a point of emphasis for the league’s officials and will not be tolerated.
Eliminating fighting keeps NFL games competitive and professional, and ensures that they are played to the highest standards.
Learn more about the 2016 NFL rules changes and points of emphasis.
The 2016 League Policy for Players states: “Don’t fight, and if a fight breaks out involving other players, stay away.”
The 2016 Rulebook outlines the policy in Rule 12, Section 2, Article 12. Striking, Kicking, Or Kneeing Opponents. Players are prohibited from striking an opponent with his fists; kicking or kneeing an opponent; and striking, swinging at, or clubbing the head, neck or face of an opponent with the wrists, arms, elbows or hands.
View the searchable and interactive 2016 NFL Rulebook.
Violating the rule will result in a 15-yard penalty and, if the officials see the entire play and deem any of these fouls to be flagrant, the offender may be ejected from the game. If the foul is committed by the defense, it results in an automatic first down.
The memo to clubs states:
“These rules are in place for the protection and safety of our players and to keep them on the field. As professionals, no matter how emotional the game becomes, there is nothing that should resort to fighting. Coaches are encouraged to emphasize to players, coaches and other club personnel who are on the sidelines, that fighting will not be tolerated. We greatly appreciate all of your efforts to advance our great game, keep it competitive and professional, and to ensure that it is played to the highest standards.”