The 2012 NFL season, the 93rd regular season of the National Football League, is set to begin Wednesday, September 5, 2012, with the defending Super Bowl XLVI champion New York Giants hosting the Dallas Cowboys in the 2012 NFL Kickoff game at MetLife Stadium, and will end with Super Bowl XLVII, the league's championship game, on Sunday, February 3, 2013, at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.
The following rule changes are approved by the competition committee for the 2012 season:
- The Replay Booth can initiate replay reviews on turnover plays at any time during the game, similar to a change made in the 2011 season regarding booth reviews on scoring plays outside of the final 2:00 of the game or in overtime.
- The overtime rules in the playoffs (adopted for the 2010 season) would be extended to the regular season. Instead of a straight sudden death, the game will not immediately end if the team that wins the coin toss only scores a field goal on its first possession (they can still win the game if they score a touchdown). Instead, the other team gets a possession. If the coin toss loser then scores a touchdown, it is declared the winner. If the score is tied after both teams had a possession whether the coin toss loser scored a field goal to tie it or punted it away, then it goes back to sudden death. If the score remains tied at the end of Overtime, the game ends in a tie.
- The penalty for 12 men on the field (not in the huddle) is changed from a live-ball foul to a dead-ball foul.
- Adding anyone who is subject to a crack-back block to the list of defenseless players.
- Last names on uniforms can now include Roman numerals (in the case of Robert Griffin III), Junior (Jr.) and Senior (Sr.) designations.