No more tuck rule: a preview of NFL rule changes for 2013


The 94th regular season of the NFL is just around the corner and teams will begin training camp later this month.

Things will look a little bit different on the football field during the 2013 season with the leagues’ new rule changes which were passed during the NFL owners meetings in March.

Here is a reminder ahead of time so you don’t jump up and down when a flag is or isn’t thrown.


Abolishing the ”Tuck Rule” adopted in the 1999 season.

With a vote of 29-1 (Patriots Owner Robert Kraft and Redskins Owner Daniel Snyder abstaining, and Steelers Owner Art Rooney III voting against it) the quarterback-saving rule is now a thing of the past. Love it or hate it, but in 2013 it will now be ruled a fumble when a quarterback loses possession of the ball after a pump fake while bringing the ball back to his body.

Tight ends and H-backs will now be permitted to wear numbers 40-49.

Stop the presses! In years past the leagues tight ends were only permitted to don jersey numbers 80-89.

“Peel-back” blocks will now result in 15-yard personal foul penalties anywhere on the field.

Previously, these type of blocks were permitted within the “tackle box.”  A player makes a peel-back block when he is moving toward his goal line, approaches an opponent from behind or the side, and makes contact below the waist. The penalty will be 15 yards. Really under no circumstances will you be permitted to block low below the waist when you’re blocking back towards your own end line,” said Rams coach Jeff Fisher in a league press release, co-chairman of the competition committee about the rule change.

On field goal attempts, long snappers will now be considered defenseless players.

The Ravens Morgan Cox should love this new rule change. The defense can have no more than six players on one side of the ball at the snap (5 yard penalty), and players not on the line cannot push teammates into blockers (15 yard penalty).

Modifying the “no-challenge” rule adopted in the 2012 season to eliminate the automatic “no-review” penalty when a coach challenges a play that is automatically reviewed by the replay booth (turnovers, scoring plays, and any play inside of the 2:00 warning).

Teams will now be charged a time-out when a coach throws a challenge flag on a booth-reviewable play (but they get the time out back if the play is reviewed and overturned) as well as a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, but the play is still reviewed if the replay booth believes a review is necessary. This change was prompted after last season’s Thanksgiving Day game when Detroit Lions’ head coach Jim Schwartz (Halethorpe, Maryland) threw a challenge flag on a play where Houston Texans’ running back Justin Forsett’s knee touched the ground, but he was still able to get up and score a touchdown.

Any player at least three yards downfield or outside of the “tackle box” will be penalized 15 yards for leading with the helmet on hits.

Perhaps the most debate by owners came with the crown of the helmet hits rule, which will affect running backs the most. The vote was 31-1 with the Cincinnati Bengals voting against the new rule. This rule will no doubt affect the way ball carriers will play the game. It will now be a 15-yard penalty if a player who is more than three yards downfield or outside of the tackle box delivers a blow with the crown of his helmet. If the offensive and defensive player each lowers his head and uses the crown of the helmet to make contact, each will be penalized.


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About Brian Bower

Brian Bower
Brian Bower is avid football fan who was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. Brian has covered the Baltimore Ravens and NFL player positives in the community for the past two years for His work has been featured on and ESPN blogs. He is also a regular guest...more

9 Raves on “No more tuck rule: a preview of NFL rule changes for 2013

  1. Ravcolt on said:

    Look for the following ‘rules’ to be only a year or two away:

    1. New tuck rule: A player may not tuck the ball under his arm. The arm then becomes a weapon and extremely dangerous.

    2. No blocking below or above the waist: Blocking must occur exactly at waist level. This gives an advantage to those who keep themselves in shape (i.e. 32 vs 44 inch waist, etc.) so as to minimize their area of being blocked.

    3. All offensive players are to be considered defenseless players five yards beyond the line of scrimmage: Since the majority of games are won in the trenches, why inflict needless pain to those beyond it?

    4. Unlimited challenges: What the heck? The game is already way too long.

    • PurpleReign on said:

      Number 2 and 3 wont happen. Blocking advantages wont happen for players, because you could have a wideout play lineman if that was the reality. Number 3 would make basically every play a penalty, and the NFL isn’t going to enforce a rule that will make the game take 14 hours.

      • Rumor Ray on said:

        PurpleReign … I tend to think Ravcolt was joking with his new rules. LOL

        I did like #2 the best … right at waist level

      • John on said:

        This response made me smile, part of me wants to believe that you might just be a comedic genius but alas I think the more likely reality is that you took Ravcolt’s obvious joke seriously and felt compelled to correct him.

        I like how you didn’t find fault with rule #1…

  2. Tyler on said:

    The crown of the helmet rule is gonna cause issues, and I think I remember the play that really made them sit and think. Falcons’ Jaquizz Rodgers DRILLED a guy, I think in their seahawks game. Really rocked him. I bet there will be problems with this rule. That’s just how the game is played.

  3. Brian Tray on said:

    The crown of the helmet rule was strongly influenced by Pollard’s knockout of Ridley in the AFC Championship game. Too Late………..LOL

  4. paulie on said:

    “If the offensive and defensive player each
    lowers his head and uses the crown of the
    helmet to make contact, each will be penalized.”
    Off-setting fouls do little more than allow the officials
    to pretend that they are relevant to the game. Unless
    it also involves a poss of down it really doesn’t change

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