Here are the major changes for 2010, with the reason for the rule change in parenthesis:http://blogs.palmbeachpost.com/thedaily ... -for-2010/
1. A play will now be whistled dead if a ball-carrier loses his helmet while still in possession of the football. The ball will be spotted at the point where the player loses his helmet (player safety).
2. During field goals and punts, opposing defensive players cannot line up directly over the center. They must have their entire body outside the snapper’s shoulder pads (player safety).
3. After the half has expired, dead ball personal fouls by the offense or defense will be enforced on the succeeding kickoff, i.e. no more untimed downs (makes the enforcement more consistent for both offense and defense).
4. If a punt returner signals for fair catch, muffs the punt and the ball is caught by the punting team before it hits the ground, a fair catch is awarded to the receiving team at the spot of the interference (i.e. it’s not a fumble). But the punting team is no longer penalized for attempting to catch a muffed fair catch (current penalty is too severe).
5. If a replay review inside the final minute of a half results in a ruling reversal – and the correct ruling would have kept the game clock running – officials will run 10 seconds off the game clock before play is started again (competitively more fair).
6. Officials will call more 15 yard penalties for spearing or launching at a defenseless player. Defenseless players are players who: Just threw a pass; attempt to catch a pass; are in the grasp; attempting a kick; on the ground at the end of the play (player safety).
7. If a loose ball strikes a video board, guide wire, sky cam or other object, the ball will be dead immediately and replayed from the previous spot. We’ll call this the Cowboys Stadium Jumbotron Rule (competitively more fair).
8. In the regular season, the sudden-death overtime rules will apply. But in the playoffs, only a touchdown on the initial drive will end the game. If the receiving team kicks a field goal, the other team gets a chance to match the score. If a team fumbles a punt or kickoff, it is considered an opportunity to score. Also, all replay reviews will be initiated by referees (moving spot of kickoff and increased accuracy of kickers has created an unanticipated advantage).
9. Centers are now allowed to wear uniform Nos. 50-79; defensive linemen can wear 50-79 and 90-99; linebackers can wear 50-59 and 90-99 (accounting for hybrid players).