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NFL Rules 2015: New rules to expect this year

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The NFL has created a few new rules this season, some minor and some just to clarify older rules that have come into question in recent years.

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This season, the NFL is initiating a few new rules that you can expect to see come Thursday night. We've already seen the point after touchdown moved in the preseason to the 15-yard line. That rule change has caused some missed extra points in the preseason. The other interesting rule change is regarding athletic trainers being able to stop the game due to injuries being ignored by players and their coaches. Marvin Lewis isn't a fan of that rule change. Read on to learn the new rules for the 2015 NFL season.

Extra point:

The extra point attempt will now be snapped from the 15-yard line. Two point-conversions will remain at the two-yard line. Additionally, the defense will be able to return a blocked kick, interception or fumble for two points.

Injury timeout:

All games will have an independent ATC (certified athletic trainers) acting as a spotted in the press box. They will be allowed to notify game officials to stop the game if a player exhibits obvious signs of disorientation or is clearly unstable, and it becomes apparent that the player will remain in the game. The game will be stopped immediately and the player will leave the game to be evaluated by the medical staff. This process will only take place if both the game officials and the medical staff fail to recognize the potential injury. Game officials have been directed to be diligent in this area and will stop the game when a player appears to be disoriented so he can get medical attention.

This rule is largely in response to the ongoing concussion dilemma in the NFL.

Unnecessary roughness:

Again, in the name of player safety, several adjustments were made to the unnecessary roughness rule.

1) Defenseless player protections are expanded to the intended receiver of a pass following an interception or potential interception. A receiver who is clearly tracking the football and is in a defenseless posture will receive defenseless player protections.

2) Rules prohibiting illegal "peel back" blocks extend to all offensive players.

3) All chop blocks involving a back are eliminated to give defenders additional protection from low blocks.

4) The prohibition against pushing teammates into the offensive formation is extended to punt plays. Players must avoid hitting or blocking opponents in the head or neck area, or using the crown or hairline parts of the helmet to make forcible contact anywhere on the body.

What's a catch?

The language pertaining to a catch via the NFL rulebook to provide a better understanding of the rule.

1) In order to complete a catch, a receiver must clearly become a runner. He does that by gaining control of the ball, touching both feet down and then, after the second foot is down, having the ball long enough to clearly become a runner, which is defined as the ability to ward off or protect himself from impending contact.

2) If, before becoming a runner, a receiver falls to the ground in an attempt to make a catch, he must maintain control of the ball after contacting the ground. If he loses control of the ball after contacting the ground and the ball touches the ground before he regains control, the pass is incomplete.

3) Reaching the ball out before becoming a runner will not trump the requirement to hold onto the ball when you land. When you are attempting to complete a catch, you must put the ball away or protect the ball so it does not come loose.