official playing rules and casebook of the national football league

end of each bench shall start at the 45-yard line and continue towards the adjacent goal line. ..... Article 1 A Free Kick is one that puts the ball in play to start a free kick down (3-2-1, 6-1-1): It includes: (a) kickoff; ...... ALTERNATE DATES, SITES.
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2012 OFFICIAL PLAYING RULES AND CASEBOOK OF THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE

Roger Goodell, Commissioner

2012 Rules Changes Rules-Section-Article

Page

5-1-1

Makes too many men in the formation a dead-ball foul.

21

12-2-2,9

Makes the recipient of a “crackback” block a defenseless player and clarifies protection for the recipient of a “blindside” block.

62

12-4-3

Adds loss of down to the penalty for illegally kicking a loose ball.

72

15-9

Replay official will initiate reviews of certain “turnovers” throughout the game. Expands reviewable plays to include the on-field ruling of a runner out of bounds when the recovery of a fumble occurs in the action following the fumble, and the on-field ruling of an incomplete pass when a backward pass is recovered in the action following the backward pass.

89

16-1-3

Both teams will have an opportunity to possess the football in overtime for all preseason, regular season, and postseason games.

91

2012 OFFICIAL PLAYING RULES OF THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE

Roger Goodell, Commissioner

Preface This edition of the Official Playing Rules of the National Football League contains all current rules governing the playing of professional football that are in effect for the 2012 NFL season. Member clubs of the League may amend the rules from time to time, pursuant to the applicable voting procedures of the NFL Constitution and Bylaws. Any intra-League dispute or call for interpretation in connection with these rules will be decided by the Commissioner of the League, whose ruling will be final. Because interconference games are played throughout the preseason, regular season, and postseason in the NFL, all rules contained in this book apply uniformly to both the American and National Football Conferences. At many places in the text there are approved rulings which serve to supplement and illustrate the basic language of the rules. Each is headed by an abbreviation, followed by a number (e.g. “A.R. 3.20”). The letter “A” in an approved ruling indicates the team that puts the ball in play, and its opponents are designated by the letter “B.” Whenever a team is in possession of the ball, it is the offense, and at such time its opponent is the defense. Yard lines and players are indicated by numerals. Thus, for example: “A.R. 5.1 Third-and-10 on A30. During a run prior to an intended pass by quarterback A1, defensive player B1 holds flanker A2 on the A45…” Where the word “illegal” appears in this rule book, it is an institutional term of art pertaining strictly to actions that violate NFL playing rules. It is not meant to connote illegality under any public law or the rules or regulations of any other organization. The word “flagrant,” when used here to describe an action by a player, is meant to indicate that the degree of a violation of the rules—usually a personal foul or unnecessary roughness—is extremely objectionable, conspicuous, unnecessary, avoidable, or gratuitous. “Flagrant” in these rules does not necessarily imply malice on the part of the fouling player or an intention to injure an opponent.

Copyright © 2012 by the National Football League. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America

Order of the Rules Rule

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Page

Field Ball Definitions Game Timing Players, Substitutes, Equipment, General Rules Free Kicks Ball in Play, Dead Ball, Scrimmage Forward Pass, Backward Pass, Fumble Scrimmage Kick Opportunity to Catch a Kick, Fair Catch Scoring Player Conduct Non-Player Conduct Penalty Enforcement Officials: Jurisdiction and Duties Overtime Procedures Emergencies, Unfair Acts Guidelines for Captains Penalty Summary Table of Foul Codes/Team Abbreviation Codes Official Signals Index 2012 NFL Schedule

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