Top 15 Worst Rule Changes In NFL History

The NFL has made bad decisions throughout their long storied history. Even today, Roger Goodell continues to make questionable moves, that many fans question regularly. Many players have made it clear

The NFL has made bad decisions throughout their long storied history. Even today, Roger Goodell continues to make questionable moves, that many fans question regularly. Many players have made it clear that they don't like the commissioner, and they have spoken publicly about him. This is what Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman said about Roger and the NFL and their rules:

"You've got a bunch of guys who have never played. They've probably touched a football to hold it out or to shake somebody's hand, to take a picture, but they've never played the game."

The NFL claims to change game rules based on health concerns, which is understandable, but some rule changes are just foolish. Players are outraged, but more importantly fans are tired of constant changes, that make the games harder to watch. Fans are the one's who are paying money to watch, so the NFL should be listening to them.

Some of the rules on this list are quite old, but still horridly dumb. The NFL can claim all they want that they are making the game safer, but they may be creating a league based on different goals than should be followed.

Many rules and NFL prohibitions are based solely on their own business goals, despite fan and player objections. This article details the Top 15 Worst Rule Changes in NFL History, and why they are bad, and how they have affected game of play. As always feel free to let us know your opinions in the comments below.

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15 Kick-Offs to the 35 Yard Line

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

In 2011, the NFL chose to move kick-offs up farther than they had previously been kicked at. Now touchbacks are way more common, because the team kicking is even closer to the opposing end zone, starting at the 35 yard line. This makes the special teams play more arbitrary than anything else, as touchbacks are the norm now.

So remember when Devin Hester ran back the kick in the Super Bowl against the Colts? Yeah, that happens way less now because 43.5 percent of kick offs are touchbacks, and the number keeps increasing.

This rule continues to make the NFL worse. I hope it can be changed, so we can have super athletic players running back kicks again.

14 Flagrant Hits = Possible Suspension

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

This rule was instituted in 2011, and the NFL made stricter punishment for guys on defense who illegally or flagrantly tackle opposing players. Instead of a fine or loss of money for the player, suspension is possible. Suspension for a big hit, can sometimes be too severe, as the team can suffer more than the individual player can.

Football is a violent sport, so this rule can really go too far in many ways. Players are supposed to hit hard, and tackle; it's the sport, nothing more.

13 Soft Domestic Violence Penalties

Brad Penner-USA TODAY

When players who abuse their spouses or girlfriends do so, they only get suspended for a few games, and even that standard was just set. In previous years, when NFL stars showed up in the news for domestic violence, it was swept under the rug. With the headlines that Ray Rice created for the NFL, they adjusted fast and banned Rice for a year from the league.

Players like Adrian Peterson, who hit his child, should be banished from the NFL. This is a real problem, and an example is being set that it is okay to do things like this, but not a reason to be fired. Domestic violence is a serious offense, and players who hit other women, should be kicked out of the league.

That being said, some of the domestic violence cases are disputable due to the fact that people don't always tell the truth.

12 No Tinted Visors


In 1998, the non tinted visors rule was made clear by the NFL. Some players may be allowed to wear tinted visors because of medical reasons given by a physician, but other than that it is banned. Players like "LT" or Ricky Williams rocked the tinted visor while running for touchdowns, and it made them look really cool. A case can be made that by banning these really sweet visors, the NFL actually took away some players' marketability.

So in high school, and college, this type of visor is allowed, but I guess the NFL found trouble with it.

11 Custom Facemasks Banned


In 2013 this rule went into effect. Players are no longer allowed to have customized facemasks, as the NFL has instituted standard requirements. This rule is amended of course, if a player has a medical condition. The NFL just continues to make excessive rules, like this picky one. Is it really that important to clarify this rule? Some players who can no longer use custom facemasks are Brian Orakpo and Jason Pierre Paul.

Ray Lewis' old facemask was pretty scary, as the Super Bowl champion looked like Bane in some ways, defenders must have felt threatened by his presence. Hey maybe that is why they got rid of them.

10 Banned Below The Knee

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

In 2006, the NFL instituted this rule, which takes aim at defenders attacking the quarterback. The league takes too many measures to protect their business interests, and it has made the game too tamed. Football isn't supposed to be two-hand touch. Players who hit quarterbacks under the knee are now penalized, sometimes tremendously. This rule changed the NFL uniquely, making quarterbacks a lot more comfortable.

Football by nature is very violent, and the game is already safe enough for QBs.

9 Every Score Is Reviewed

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

After 2011, every touchdown or score is now reviewed. Previously during the last two minutes of a game, was the only time that the replay officials decided to review plays. During the time before 2011, coaches could challenge up to three plays, creating strategy among teams to use the call only when needed. This has changed drastically now, as every single time points are put on the board, the replay is consulted to confirm the score. The outcome of many games is decided by the referees, and I don't think that's good for viewership.

8 Helmet Crown Rule


In 2013, The Helmet Crown Rule came in to effect, with running backs now being penalized for not putting their heads down while rushing. Eric Dickerson, a hall of fame back had this to say.

"I think it's a bad rule. Mostly because it's a natural reaction. You'll never be able to police it. Running backs have to be able to protect themselves and doing that is protecting yourself. The league is trying to take the violence out of the NFL. That will never happen. What's next, take the stiff arm away?"

Maybe Dickerson is right, it should be the defenders' responsibility to bring fair game. People continue to doubt Roger Goodell (along with his rules), and it is commonly thought that he is lessening the toughness of the game of football.

7 Illegal Contact


Instituted in 2004, the Illegal Contact rule became a standard in the league because of the New England Patriots. Patriots players were aggressive, and would use their hands frequently while blocking and defending receivers. This is another prime example of the NFL choosing to make the league softer, as the receivers of the past were jammed the entire way up field.

6 No Dual Celebrations

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

In 2013, this stupid rule went into full effect. Although celebrations have always been somewhat judged, they never were so harshly viewed than in 2013 when they were banned from in-game competition. The NFL is stricter and stricter every season, and it is getting less fun to watch for fans. Sure some celebrations were excessive in the past, but lots of times, entire teams would get involved in the excitement.

We want celebrations, and who doesn't miss the great ones by T.O and Chad Johnson (Ochocinco).

5 NFL Primetime Fairness

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Every team must have at least one prime time game during the season, according to the NFL. And honestly, who wants to watch Jags vs. Browns on a Monday Night? Nobody. Prime time games should be for the best teams in the NFL, and should be a game that a national audience wants to watch. Two teams that are in playoff contention should be battling on Monday or Sunday Night, not teams who are under .500 every year.

4 Injury Report

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Coaches are obligated to tell the league office's who is injured, and how severe they are hurt. Coaches should be able to keep this information private for game plans and preparation. Why should the other team need to know which player is starting or not starting, it creates an uneven edge. The Chicago Bears were being watched by the NFL, because coach John Fox did not report his players' injuries to the leagues front office. Purely comical.

3 Farther Extra Point

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

In 2015, the NFL made the extra point attempt move to the 33 yard line. I do not see the reason to move back an extra point, when in fact its called an "extra point". The whole point of the PAT kick is that it is supposed to be a gimme kick. If anything it should be closer to the goal line. Many kickers missed extra point kicks this season, due to them having to adjust to the longer range. The NFL shouldn't be so worried about extra points, there are bigger problems, seriously.

2 Pass Interference Yardage

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

In college and high school football, a pass interference call is usually a 15 yard yard penalty. Nothing too serious. In the pros, pass interference penalties can be an unlimited amount of yards. Receivers now will do things on purpose to make it look like the other team deserves a penalty, and it's crazy. The penalty should be a specific amount of yards every time, not a possible 99 yard penalty. It's just unfair for defenders, and the defending team.

1 The Catch Rule

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

I was watching the NFL this season and Odell Beckham caught a ball in the end zone, took two steps, and it wasn't a touchdown. Why? Because he dropped the ball after he took two steps. Can someone inform me if I am confused what a touchdown is then? If you catch the ball in the end zone, and touch your feet...down, then it should be six points.  If you get in the end zone, it's a touchdown. Stop making everything complicated and stupid NFL, it's getting out of hand.

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Top 15 Worst Rule Changes In NFL History