Rules You Had No Idea NFL Players Have To Follow

The NFL has provided countless hours of entertainment since its inception in 1920. But the whole league sometimes seems to exist in a separate universe with its own laws. As a result, there are many obscure NFL rules no one knows about. The bizarre requirements that players must follow ostensibly aim to maintain a certain image among the teams of the league; team owners hate football scandal.

Social media sites like Twitter and Instagram grant team officials free reign to monitor athletes, though. So when players break NFL regulations, they're reprimanded swiftly and harshly.

  • The Dress Code Is Surprisingly Strict
    Photo: Jeffrey Beall / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

    The Dress Code Is Surprisingly Strict

    The NFL polices players' clothing extremely closely. In fact, the league's official dress code policy is an astounding five pages long. The guidelines prohibit bandanas; pants must fall below the knee; team jerseys must be tucked in; and towels can only be placed in the front of a player's pants. Also, if a player wants to wear a non-league-sanctioned facemask, an approved doctor must submit a written report to the NFL before approval can be granted.

  • They Aren't Allowed To Miss Meetings
    Photo: Hanging Curve / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

    They Aren't Allowed To Miss Meetings

    NFL players who miss meetings get fined by the league. Attendance at league events is considered mandatory for everyone. In a well-publicized 2016 story, a Dallas Cowboys wide receiver was fined an undisclosed amount for missing both a scheduled MRI and a team meeting.

  • Players Can Only Wear Approved Accessories
    Photo: Jeffrey Beall / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

    Players Can Only Wear Approved Accessories

    Not only are NFL players' clothing choices tightly monitored, so too are their accessories. For instance, the league devoted one month to breast cancer awareness, working with organizations like the American Cancer Society. Players were required to wear only approved pink accessories during breast cancer awareness month. One player asked to wear the pink accessories all year long as a tribute to his mother, who died of breast cancer. His request was denied, though, because it didn't adhere to league rules.

  • End Zone Celebrations For Touchdowns Can't Cross A Certain Line

    There is a whole laundry list of dos and don'ts for touchdown celebrations. The merriment can't cross a certain line on the field; players can't fall to the ground in glory; and they can't do anything that might be construed as violent or sexual. Preplanned team celebrations are allowed but only because two players were fined more than $12,000 each for doing a pre-choreographed victory dance.

  • Players Can Be Fined For Being Overweight
    Photo: Jeffrey Beall / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

    Players Can Be Fined For Being Overweight

    Football players are not typically the slimmest athletes. In fact, they tend to be big and burly. And the NFL is fine with that, as long as players aren't too big and burly. If a player is overweight, he can be fined up to $630 for every pound over the limit. The limit, however, differs from player to player and is determined by the team officials. The relatively good news is that players can't be fined more than two times in one week.

  • There Are Consequences For Oversleeping

    Many people set their alarm clocks and their phones to avoid sleeping through important events. NFL players might want to set their alarm clocks, phones, microwave clocks, egg timers, and schedule wakeup calls while they're at it. They can be heavily fined for oversleeping and missing practice. In best-case scenarios, players are sent home whenever they decide to show up. Even some high-profile players receive this punishment.