I'm looking for a list of all scoring and scoring-related rules changes in the NFL. While the NFL goes back to 1920s, I'll be satisfied with just a list of rules changes going back to 1970, when the NFL and AFL merged.

Examples of rules changes that I'm looking for are like:

  • 1994 - NFL implemented the 2 point conversion rule.
  • 2011 - NFL changed the kickoff location from the 30yd line to the 35yd line
  • 2018 - NFL changed the kickoff rule so that there's no more running starts by the kicking team until after the kicker kicks the ball.

Something that lists all these rules changes throughout the NFL history is what I'm looking for. I searched on the Internet using Google, checked Wikipedia, and looked at the NFL website but I haven't found anything resembling what I'm looking for.

The closest resource I found using Google was this at Sports Attic but unfortunately, it stops at year 2003.

What are all the rule changes, especially from 1970 to now?

  • 1
    Welcome to Stack Exchange. In general, requests for off-site resources are off-topic across the network so I've edited the question to simply ask for the changes, rather than for links to non-Stack Exchange resources. Thanks for understanding!
    – Philip Kendall
    Aug 14, 2020 at 7:02

1 Answer 1


I found this video titled "The OFFICIAL History of NFL Rules!" and similar to the link in the question, it talks about rule changes over time from 1920 to 2019. It's uploaded from a channel of the verified NFL youtube account, so the title should be trusted. Here are the rule changes it mentions. I've bolded those that I deemed that are directly or indirectly effecting scoring:

  • 1933: Forward pass become legal from anywhere behind the line of scrimmage
  • 1933: Goal posts where moved from the end line to the goal line
  • 1933: Ball would be put in play at the hash marks, 10 yards from each sideline
  • 1934: Penalties removed for multiple incomplete passes in a series of downs
  • 1943: Helmets became mandatory
  • 1945: Hash marks were moved 20 yards from the sidelines
  • 1946: An incomplete pass behind the goal line no longer results in a safety
  • 1948: Tees were allowed on kickoffs
  • 1949: Unlimited substitutions allowed following a dead ball
  • 1955: Ball is declared dead when carrier touches the ground (except for hands and feet) when in grasp of an opponent
  • 1968: The competition committee is born, replacing the rules committee
  • 1972: Hash marks are moved 70 feet, 9 inches from the sidelines, exactly in line with each goal posts. This is where the hash marks stands currently
  • 1974: A defense player is allowed to make contact with a receiver only once after three yards from the line of scrimmage
  • 1974: The goals posts are moved back from the goal line to the end line
  • 1974: Kicksoffs are moved from the 40 yard line to the 35 yard line
  • 1974: Sudden death over time introduced for all regular season games
  • 1977: The "Head Slap" was banned
  • 1978: A defensive player can only make contact with a receiver to the point of five yards beyond the line of scrimmage
  • 1978: If an offensive player fumbles on the 4th down or anytime after the 2 minute warning, only the fumbling player can recover and advanced the ball. This is a response to the Holy Roller
  • 1986: Use of instant replay is allowed for the first time, but removed in 1992
  • 1994: Kickoffs were moved from 35 yard line to the 30 yard line
  • 1994: 2 point conversion was introduced
  • 1999: Coaches allowed 2 challenges per half, losing a timeout for any unsuccessful challenge
  • 2000: Team touchdown celebrations were outlawed
  • 2004: Illegal contact is reinforced more aggressively
  • 2005: horse-collar tackle forbidden
  • 2011: A reviews official would review all scoring plays
  • 2011: Kickoffs are moved from 30 yard line back to 35 yard line
  • 2012: Current overtime rules introduced. That is both teams get the chance to score, unless the team receiving the OT kickoff scores a TD on the first drive
  • 2013: Tuck rule is abolished
  • 2015: Extra point attempts move from 2 yard line to the 15 yard line
  • 2017: Regular season overtime is shortened from 15 to 10 minutes
  • 2017: Ball moved from 20 yard line to 25 yard line following a touchback
  • 2017: Team celebrations following a score are re-allowed
  • 2018: The catch rule is modified so that there are 3 steps to a catch:
    1. Secure control of the ball prior to the ball touching the ground,
    2. Touch the ground inbounds with both feet or with any part of the body other than the hands,
    3. Perform a football act, or maintain control of the ball long enough to do so
  • 1
    Added explicit list from the link in the post
    – alamoot
    Aug 14, 2020 at 14:06

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