Throughout its history, the NFL has made changes to the league’s rules to improve the game by making it more exciting and reducing the risk of injury. By helping to identify, promote and enforce safe on-field conduct — along with the off-field education of policies — the league seeks to preserve both the health of players and the integrity of the game. 

The NFL has established a strong set of rules that focus on player safety and are designed to promote fair competition while attempting to minimize risk to the player. Many changes to the rules over the years were designed to reduce contact to players’ heads and necks, while others have protected players from broken bones, ligament or tendon tears and other injuries.

The NFL continually evaluates how rules can be used to address health and safety issues. Each year the NFL Competition Committee conducts a complete review of player injuries and discusses how injuries can be reduced — either through new rules or by clarifying or strengthening existing rules.

Learn more about the evolution of NFL rules.

These reviews not only have had a positive impact in the NFL, but also have informed rule changes at other levels of play, including college, high school and youth programs.

See the NFL rule changes over the past 30 years that the league made to improve player health and safety.