2013 Football Rule Changes

The 2013 season will see a few rule changes, the most significant deal with player safety. At the other end of the spectrum, uniform fashions have been given a new limit.

Initiating contact to the head or neck of a player being tackled is now an automatic ejection, taking discretion away from the officials to make the decision whether the play warranted ejection. Tackles leading with the crown of the helmet are also now automatic ejections. In both cases there will also be a 15 yard penalty.

An automatic ejection and 15 yard penalty will be assessed for launching (that is leaving your feet for an upward and forward thrust of the body to contact the head or neck), crouching (again with an upward and forward thrust to contact the head or neck), leading (with the helmet, forearm, fist, hand, or elbow attacking the head or neck) and lowering (dropping the head before making contact with the crown of the helmet).

Offensive blocking below the waist. An offensive back within a zone defined as seven yards toward either sideline on either side of the center and five yards into the defensive side of the line of scrimmage and from the offensive line of scrimmage to the end line, may block below the waist if the blocker is stationary until the ball is outside that zone. Other offensive players within the zone may block below the waist if the block is clearly in front of the opponent. ALl players may block below the waist and clearly in front of the opponent when the ball has the left the zone. No blocks below the waist are permitted under any circumstance by a player facing his own end line.

In the final minute of each half if the clock stops solely for an injury, the opposing team may elect to have 10 seconds run off the clock. There is no run-off if a timeout is used by the injured player's team.

Players no longer are required to leave the game for one play after losing their helmet if their team takes a timeout.

If the ball is spiked to stop the clock, there must be at least three second left on the clock at the referee's ready for play signal or the half will end on the spike.

A team cannot have two players playing the same position using the same number. A player changing numbers in order to play another position must notify the referee who will announce the change.

The number on a jersey cannot be the same or similar color as the jersey even if the number has a contrasting border. That means no red numerals on a red jersey or numerals of a similar color even if bordered with a contrasting color.