As a professional athlete, you’re expected to not only do your job, but also be an outstanding member of the community. While we unfortunately hear about athletes getting into trouble off the field, there are actually quite a few rules set in place to protect both athletes and the teams that employ them.
The somewhat bizarre regulations that players have to follow are aimed at protecting the league from any massive scandal and so they can maintain a squeaky clean image. This article takes a look at some of the weird rules and regulations that the players have to follow on an everyday basis.
End Zone Celebrations Have To Be Toned Down
We can only imagine that scoring a touchdown in the NFL would be one of the most exciting and exhilarating experiences of all time. But, don’t you dare think about celebrating too hard. The league has strict rules on what you can and can’t do after you score a TD.
You can’t fall on the ground in glory, you can’t do anything that might be considered violent or risqué, and if you’re going to do a pre-planned celebration, you can expect a $12,000 fine from the league as well.
No Missing Meetings
NFL players are not allowed to miss any meetings by the league or the team without getting fined. Attendance is mandatory, and if you don’t believe me, just look at what happened to Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant in 2016 when he decided to skip an MRI and team meeting.
He was fined an undisclosed amount and the league was going to continue to fine him for every meeting he missed after that as well.
They Can Be Fined If They Don’t Make Weight
It shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that football players aren’t the skinniest athletes in the world. They tend to be big and meaty because they have to be. So, for the most part, the NFL is fine with that, but you can still be fined for being overweight.
In fact, a player can be fined $630 for every pound that a player is over the “limit,” which is different for every team, every year. The silver lining is that players can only be fined two times in one week for this offense.
Don’t You Dare Oversleep
Most professional athletes love their sleep. It’s easy to see why considering they spend most of their days working out and training for the season. But, don’t you dare oversleep if you plan on playing in the NFL because you can be heavily fined for it.
If you sleep through your alarm and end up coming late to practice, the best case scenario is that you get sent home from practice. The worst is a fine or other punishment.
You Better Be VERY Sick If You’re Not Showing Up
This one kind of makes sense to the average onlooker. If you’re getting paid millions of dollars, you better be showing up to the field if you just have a common cold or headache.
In the NFL, you better be very sick if you’re going to call in and say you can’t come. There was a 10-year NFL vet who said he would go to work out with the team even if he was feeling sick to his stomach.
The Strict Dress Code
The NFL has a surprisingly strict dress code that every player has to follow unless they want to be slapped with a hefty fine. It’s safe to assume that not everyone has read the five-page-long document outlining the policy regarding the dress code, so let’s look at the important notes.
They can’t wear bandanas, towels can only be placed on the front of their pants, they can’t wear non-league sanctioned face masks and all pants must fall below the knee.
You Have To Speak To The Media
After a crushing defeat, it can be hard to talk to the media about what went wrong. You’d think that anyone who lost would deny any requests from the media, but the reality is that they can’t. The NFL demands that players be ready to speak to the media after every game.
The media is also given 45 minutes on Mondays, Wednesday, Thursdays, and Fridays to speak to players and coaches after practice. Marshawn Lynch famously skipped a press conference and was fined $100,000 for the infraction.
You Can’t Spin The Ball
As we mentioned before, scoring a touchdown is a momentous occasion that very few people actually get to enjoy. But, players can’t get caught up in the fever of the moment and triumphantly spin the ball on the ground.
Players will get fined if they move the ball in that manner because it’s considered taunting. Other seemingly innocent things players aren’t allowed to do include homerun swings, pointing the ball, spiking the ball and “incredible hulking.”
You’re Working Out Whether You Like It Or Not
One way to rack up some sizeable fines early in your NFL career is by missing mandatory workouts. Much like the stiff fines that are put on players who miss meetings with team executives and medical staff, missing out on training, workouts, or camps will get you a hefty fine.
If you skip minicamp, the fine is around $70,000 and then there’s an extra $30,000 depending on the circumstances. If a player doesn’t report to camp by August 5th, he loses an accrued season.
Absolutely NO Adderall
College campuses aren’t the only places where Adderall has been abused repeatedly While students use Adderall for that last minute study crunch before an exam, NFL players will use it to enhance their performance. Adderall is supposed to be a drug that is used to treat ADHD and induces hyper-focus.
The football league has suspended and kicked out players for taking the substance, which is considered an amphetamine. There have been claims that say half the league abuses Adderall for performance-enhancing purposes.
Be Careful Who You Salute
Another day, another celebration technique that the NFL is trying to take away from their players. If you’re going to salute a player or salute the crowd, you better be careful because the league is going to be looking heavily into what you’re doing.
Saluting, in the eyes of the NFL executives, is a sign of taunting and unsurprisingly is prohibited by the NFL. Fortunately, the punishment isn’t too harsh, and if a player is caught saluting their team might get a 15-yard penalty instead of a fine.
You Can’t Dunk On Em’
Please don’t yawn and say, “I know” when you find out that the NFL is stiff about players dunking on the goalposts after they score a touchdown. Yes, we’ve basically established that players aren’t allowed to breathe without getting fined after they score a TD, but this is a rule so we’re going to talk about it.
Players cannot use any props of any kind during a game and the league considers the goalpost a prop.
You Can’t Wear Your Socks Too Low
The league has an incredibly strict dress code on the field and the way they wear their socks certainly isn’t exempt from the ruling. Basically, socks can’t be too low or fines will be instituted. In 2013, Frank Gore incurred a whopping $10,500 fine for donning improperly-pulled up socks.
Gore said that the last thing he thinks about when he gets out on the field is how high or low his socks are, and instead, he says he’s just thinking about winning the next play.
Individual Teams Have Their Own Rules Too
If the league rules weren’t constricting enough, players also have to abide by their own team rules as well. Individual team owners have their own set of regulations, like, the New England Patriots for example.
Their owner, Robert Kraft, says that his team jerseys must always have numbers on the front and the back, the New York Jets typically make their players all wear suits before the game, which is unusual in the NFL.
They Have To Wear Approved Accessories
As we talked about, the NFL dress code is extremely limiting and the clothing choices the players are allowed to wear are monitored.
The accessories that the guys are allowed to wear are also very limited. For example, the league dedicated a month to breast cancer awareness and players were only allowed to wear pink during that month. One player asked to wear pink for the entire year for cancer awareness for his mother and his request was denied.
Palpably Unfair Act
There are also some weird on-field rules that the NFL has that most people aren’t aware of. For example, imagine the running back from your favorite team is running down the field all alone and the COACH from the other team comes onto the field and tackles him.
Unsurprisingly, this is illegal. This would fall under the Palpably Unfair Act which is used to stop cheating from happening. The refs have to all agree for the rule to be called.
Receivers Can Be Thrown Down In Certain Formations
There are specific rules against touching a wide receiver after five yards unless you’re making a play on the ball. But, depending on the formation that your offense lines up in, all bets could be off. For example, if your O-line lines up in punting formation, there are no rules to touching the WR.
Receivers can be knocked around as much as the defenders want in a fake punt scenario, which adds a little more spice to the trick play.
Leapfrog Is Illegal
While this might sound bizarre when you just read the headline, it actually does make some sense. This on-field rule takes away all of the joy and excitement of the game leapfrog from players in the NFL.
On P.A.T.’s you will typically see a gap between the offensive snapper and the defensive line. The gap is there because the defenders know they aren’t allowed to leapfrog over the offensive player. The technical term is Illegal Leverage.
Teams Can DQ Their Starting QBs
NFL teams typically carry three QBs on their roster. However, there is a rule that says if you bring in your third-stringer before the 4th quarter than your first two QBs are disqualified from returning to action.
The biggest twist to this rule is that your third-stringer literally cannot come into the game for ANYTHING or else this rule will apply. It’s kind of a crazy rule, and it’s one that most football fans don’t even know about.
A Team Can Win In OT By 9 Points
This rule is some simple math that is often times overlooked and not believed when you read the headline. Thanks to the new overtime rules, it is now possible to win a game in OT by nine points despite what most people think.
If Team A scores a field goal on their first possession and then gets a pick-six on the defensive side of the ball, the game can end with a nine-point margin.