The following is a summary of rules changes that will be in effect for the 1987 NFL season:
With the exception of the first onside kick attempt, if a kickoff goes out of bounds, the receiving team will take possession of the ball 30 yards from the spot of the kickoff or at the out-of-bounds spot, at the receiving team's option. The first onside kick will result in a five-yard penalty and re-kick must be made.
A club may use three of its eight free activations on players who went onto injured reserve in the preseason, provided such reactivations do not occur until after the trading deadline of that same season.
Team timeouts in the final two minutes of each half will be reduced from 60 to 40 seconds.
Blocking with extended arms is allowed anywhere on the field.
An exception will be made to close line play that previously permitted clipping between the tackles and three yards on either side of the line of scrimmage. Now, an offensive lineman may not clip a defender who is lined up more than one position away when the defender is responding to the flow of the ball away from the blocker. Example: Tackles cannot clip the nose tackle on a sweep play away.
Incorporated the present chop block policy in the official rule book: during a forward pass or any play in which an offensive player indicates an apparent attempt to block, no offensive player may deliberately block (chop) a defensive player in the area of the thigh or lower while the defensive player is physcially engaged by the blocking attempt of another offensive player.
No player on either team is permitted to block below the waist during a kicking play or after any change of possession.
A passer who wants to stop the clock will be permitted to throw the ball away -- out of bounds or to the ground -- so long as he begins his throwing motion immediately after receiving the snap and throws the ball in the direction of the sideline.
A chuck by a defensive player on an opponent beyond the five-yard zone is no longer a foul if the offensive team is in an obvious punting formation.