The National Football League held its annual league meeting last week in Phoenix, Arizona. Eight playing rules were approved along with three bylaws, and one resolution proposal.

The eight playing rules approved are[1]:

  1. The “leaper” block attempt on field goal and extra point plays is prohibited (Proposal from the Philadelphia Eagles)


  1. If a player is penalized twice in one game for certain types of unsportsmanlike conduct fouls, he is disqualified (From Competition Committee)
  2. The spot of the next snap after a touchback resulting from a free kick is changed to the 25-yard line for one year only (By Competition Committee)
  3. A receiver running a pass route defenseless is given player protection[2] (From Competition Committee)
  4. Crackback blocks are prohibited by a backfield player who is in motion, even if he is not more than two yards outside the tackle when the ball is snapped (From Competition Committee)
  5. The sideline replay monitor is replaced with a hand-held device and authorizes designated members of the Officiating department to make the final decision on replay reviews (From Competition Committee)
  6. Unsportsmanlike Conduct is committed when multiple fouls occur during the same down designed to manipulate the game clock (From Competition Committee)
  7. Actions to conserve time are illegal after the two-minute warning of either half (From Competition Committee)

Although the “leap” play was quite exciting, the rule against it was approved due to safety concerns of players leaping over offensive linemen during kicks.[3]

One rule that was not approved was changing overtime to 10 minutes instead of 15 minutes.[4]  The rule was proposed by the Competition Committee and will be discussed again at the next owner’s meeting.[5]  Other rules not approved were coaches being able to review any play or call on the field, and Washington Redskins’ proposal to remove the cap on challenges.[6]

The three approved bylaws are[7]:

  1. Rules for timing, testing, and administering physical examinations to draft-eligible players at a club’s facility for one year only are liberalized (From Competition Committee)
  2. Procedures are changed for returning a player on Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform or Reserve/Non-Football Injury or Illness to the Active List to be similar to those for returning a player that was Designated for Return (From Competition Committee)
  3. The League office will transmit a Personnel Notice to clubs on Sundays during training camp and preseason (From Competition Committee)


Three bylaw proposals from the Washington Redskins that were not approved were eliminating the mandatory cut-down to 75 Active List players; amending Article XVII, Section 17.14 to place a player who has a concussion and who has not been cleared to play on the team’s exempt list and be replaced by a player on the team’s practice squad on a game by game basis until the player is cleared to play; and allowing teams to opt out of the Thursday Night Football “color rush” jerseys.[8]

The approved resolution proposal allows for a non-football employee to interview and be hired by another team during the season only if the original team gives consent.

Two resolution proposals denied were alternate helmet colors to match the team’s third uniform, and allowing a team to negotiate and reach an agreement with a head coach candidate during the postseason.[9]

Oakland → Las Vegas


Despite the new rules, bylaws, and proposal, the news that got the most publicity from the meetings was the approval of the Raiders moving to Las Vegas.[10]

Raiders owner, Mark Davis, presented his proposal and it was approved by NFL owners by a 31 out of 32 vote.[11]  The Miami Dolphins were the only team to vote against the move to Las Vegas.[12]  Dolphins owner Stephen Ross voted against the move because he wants the NFL to “consider its legacy in local markets.”[13]

Mark Davis will have to pay an expected $350 million relocation fee to the league, but the Raiders will have to play the next two seasons in the Bay Area before officially moving to Las Vegas.[14]  So, in the meantime, the Raiders will still be known as the Oakland Raiders, despite the Las Vegas approval.

The Raiders Las Vegas stadium is expected to open in 2020. The team will receive financing from public funds ($750 million), the Raiders and NFL ($500 million), and Bank of America will provide additional funds.[15]

For a detailed timeline of the league’s decision to approve Raiders’ move to Las Vegas, click here.

Chicago will host NFL owners in May for their spring meeting.[16]


[1] Approved 2017 Playing Rules, NFL Operations (Mar. 31, 2017).

[2] NFL Video Rulebook: Defenseless Player, NFL Operations (last visited Apr. 1, 2017).

[3] Dan Hanzus, Saying goodbye to the great fun that was ‘The Leap’ (Mar. 28, 2017).

[4] Christian D’Andrea, NFL approved 8 new rules and Raiders moved to Vegas during 2017 owners meeting, SBNation (Mar. 28, 2017).  

[5] Id.

[6] Id.

[7] Approved 2017 Playing Rulessupra note 1.

[8] Michael David Smith, NFL to consider 15 new rules 6 new bylaws, 3 new resolutions, ProFootballTalk (Mar. 23, 2017).

[9] Id.

[10] D’Andrea, supra note 4.

[11] Id.

[12] Gregg Rosenthal,  NFL owners approve Raiders’ move to Las Vegas, (Mar. 27, 2017).

[13] Id.

[14] D’Andrea, supra note 4.

[15] Rosenthal, supra note 12.

[16] Breaking Down The NFL’s New Rules For 2017, CBS Los Angeles (Mar. 29, 2017).