Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Complete List of NFL Rule Changes for 2016

Several rule changes have been made for the 2016 season.


On Tuesday, owners approved seven new rules for the 2016 season. There were still several more proposed rule changes being discussed on Wednesday. Of those, three more were approved.

For next season, the ball will be placed on the 25-yard line following touchbacks on kickoffs instead of the 20. Following the season, the rule will be re-visited and the decision will be made as to whether or not it will be made permanent.

Another rule which was approved for a preliminary, one-year trial was the automatic ejection rule, which was suggested by Commisioner Roger Goodell. The rule will eject any player who is flagged for two personal foul penalties in a game.

Finally, it was passed that the player on injured reserve-designated to return will no longer be required to be selected in advance. Any player on IR can return after six weeks, but teams are only allowed to have one player return, as had been the case in previous years. That change was not among those proposed earlier this week.

Other rule changes include:

  • Permanently moves the line of scrimmage for Try kicks to the defensive team's 15-yard line, and allows the defense to return any missed Try.
  • Permits the offensive and defensive play callers on the coaching staffs to use the coach-to-player communication system regardless of whether they are on the field or in the coaches' booth.
  • Makes all chop blocks illegal.
  • Expands the horse collar rule to include when a defender grabs the jersey at the name plate or above and pulls a runner toward the ground.
  • Makes it a foul for delay of game when a team attempts to call a timeout when it is not permitted to do so.
  • Eliminates the five-yard penalty for an eligible receiver illegally touching a forward pass after being out of bounds and re-establishing himself inbounds, and makes it a loss of down.
  • Eliminates multiple spots of enforcement for a double foul after a change of possession.
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