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2022 NFL Rule Changes

Making the game move competitive

NFL Referee Chuck Heberling Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images

There are rule changes every year in the NFL. Some have to do with the size of teams’ rosters while others change the rules during the game. Here is a list of the changes the billionaires’ club has made this year.

What are the differences from 2022 as to 2021 in roster size and the practice squad?

The game has changed somewhat over the last few years in regards to rosters. Much of this was to help with the Covid 19 pandemic to ensure teams had enough players on gameday. A lot of those rules are still in place with the willingness of the NFL to allow more players on the practice squad and some more modifications to the roster size in total.

After the final cutdown teams will have the normal 53 man roster. The practice squad was increased from 10 players to 16. That number is now permanent. So in essence your team has a roster size of 69 players even though the practice squad players can be signed by other teams if they choose to be.

On game day, two of those practice squad players may be activated to the active roster. The team then must deactivate 7 players for a gameday roster of 48 at least 90 minutes before kickoff. With the elevation from the practice squad, the players can play on Sunday and then return to the practice squad on Monday without having to go through waivers and being able to be claimed by another team.

Of 16 players on the practice squad, 6 can be veterans with any number of years in the league. That is the same number as last year but up from 4 in the 2020 season; a number that now appears permanent.

In a change from last year, players can now be elevated three times during a season instead of twice before they have to be signed to the 53-man roster to be able to play on gameday. Which means a player can be added and subtracted to the active roster twice before he has to be signed by the team. If he is signed then the team will need to make a corresponding roster move to allow space for that new player on the roster. Players who are elevated receive regular pay for the week. The practice squad salary for this year is $11,500 per week while the minimum salary for a player on the 53-man this year is $41,470. So some practice squad players will also make more money this year by being able to be elevated one additional time.

Injured Reserve List Rules

The NFL and the NFLPA have agreed on new rules on the injured reserve list. The last 2 years the league has allowed an unlimited amount of players to be place on then allowed to return to the injured reserve list after being activated to the roster. The only stipulation was that a player had to stay on the injured list for 3 weeks. That time frame has been adjusted to 4 weeks before a player can return from the list in 2022.

In 2022, only eight players per team will be permitted to return from reserve lists. That’s actually an increase from the original number which was set at three players for the 2020 season which was a pre-pandemic. A single player is eligible to return from injured reserve twice in a single season, but he will count against the allotment of eight each time.

Roster cutdown dates

Teams are allowed to have 90 players on their roster (91 if they have an international player) during the offseason. Teams must first cut their rosters from 90 to 85 on Aug. 16, after the first week of preseason games; then from 85 to 80 on Aug. 23, after the second week of preseason games; and then to the regular season limit of 53 on Aug. 30 after the third game which is now the final week of preseason games.

Overtime playoff rules change

After the debacle of the Bills scoring a TD to take a 3 point lead with 13 seconds left in the game, yet somehow losing in overtime without ever touching the ball again, the rules are changing.

These are the revised NFL overtime rules (for the playoffs only)

(a) Both teams must have the opportunity to possess the ball at least once during the extra period, unless the team kicking off to start the overtime period scores a safety on the receiving team’s initial possession, in which case the team that kicked off is the winner.

(b) After each team has had an opportunity to possess the ball, if one team has more points than its opponent, it is the winner.

(c) If the team that possesses the ball first does not score on its initial possession, or if the score is tied after each team has had its opportunity to possess the ball, the team next scoring by any method shall be the winner.

(d) If the score is tied at the end of a 15-minute overtime period, or if the second team’s initial possession has not ended, another overtime period will begin, and play will continue, regardless of how many 15-minute periods are necessary.

(e) Between each overtime period, there shall be a two-minute intermission, but there shall be no halftime intermission after the second period. At the beginning of the third overtime period, the captain who lost the coin toss prior to the first overtime period shall have the first choice of the two privileges, unless the team that won the coin toss deferred.

(f) At the end of the first and third extra periods, etc., teams must change goals.

(g) Each team is entitled to three timeouts during a half. If there is an excess timeout, the usual rules shall apply.

(h) At the end of a second overtime period, timing rules shall apply as at the end of the first half. At the end of a fourth overtime period, timing rules shall apply as at the end of the fourth period.

(i) At the end of a fourth overtime period, there will be another coin toss pursuant to Section 1, Article 2, and play will continue until a winner is declared.

If the second team loses possession by an interception or fumble, the down will be permitted to run to its conclusion, and all rules of the game will be enforced as customary, including awarding points scored by either team during the down. If the second team scores a touchdown on the down after regaining possession, it is the winner. Only fouls that require the down to be replayed, fouls that negate a score, or noticeably unfair acts will be enforced.

Free Kick Formation

The second approved rule change, proposed by the Competition Committee, makes permanent the free kick formation change implemented during the 2021 season. It established a maximum number of players in the setup zone, and the stated effect is it, “provides excitement and competition.”

Until the ball is kicked, all receiving team players must be inbounds and behind their restraining line, and at least eight, but no more than nine, players must be positioned between their restraining line and a spot 15 yards behind their restraining line (the “setup zone”).

Approved Resolution Summary

In a procedural move the NFL has adopted an Approved Resolution policy which allows clubs to keep lower level personnel while at the same time allowing them access to be hired by other clubs to non executive positions. Proposed by Baltimore, Buffalo, Philadelphia, and Tampa Bay, the approved resolution amends the Anti-Tampering Policy, in regard to Secondary Football Executive positions, to allow the employer club the choice to retain its player personnel staff through the Annual Selection Meeting. After the selection meeting through June 30, the employer club is required to grant permission for another club to interview and hire a non-high-level executive or non-secondary football executive for a secondary football executive position. The stated effect promotes club organizational stability and inter-club fairness, while preserving legitimate opportunities for personnel to explore other positions.

These are the rules all the Billionaires will have to abide by even if Robert Kraft will find a way with his head coach to cheat. The more things change, the more they stay the same.