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Summary of 2013 rules changes



Football Zebras interviewed NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino back in May about rule changes that take effect for the 2013 season. The times in the podcast when each item is discussed are listed below.

  • Open-field runners and defenders cannot lead with the crown of the helmet when initiating contact (3:51)
  • Coach’s challenges cost a timeout if it is not a challegeable play, but the replay official can still review the play (10:00)
  • Dropped catches can be overturned in replay as catch-fumble-recovery (15:38)
  • Tuck rule is repealed (16:50)
  • On field goal formations: defense cannot have more than 6 players lined up on either side of the snapper, defense cannot push a player to “crash” the line, and long snappers are given defenseless player protections (18:34)
  • “Peel back” blocks (blocking low while going backward towards the blocker’s end line) are all illegal (21:29)
  • Knee and thigh pads are mandatory for all players except kickers and punters (23:50)
  • Tight ends and H-backs can wear uniform numbers 40-49 and 80-89.

 Download the text of the new rules.


Ben Austro is the editor and founder of Football Zebras and the author of So You Think You Know Football?: The Armchair Ref's Guide to the Official Rules (on sale now)

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