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New rule allows NFL coaches to be ejected for two unsportsmanlike conduct infractions

The rule was originally introduced for players last year and now also applies to sideline personnel.

Last year, the NFL introduced a new rule on a try-out basis: Players who committed two unsportsmanlike conduct fouls became subject to automatic ejection from the game. Overall, three players left contests this way as New York Giants center Weston Richburg, Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle Malik Jackson and Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce were all ejected for multiple infractions.

After being on trial throughout the 2016 season, the two-step disqualification rule has now permanently been added to the NFL rule book; the newest edition of which was released recently. And according to it includes a little-noticed update: Rule 12-4-1 no longer only covers players but now also applies to both teams' sideline staff.

Note: This rule also applies to non-player personnel (e.g., management personnel, coaches, trainers, equipment personnel).

While the adaptation has not been made public until now, it had to be voted on – and approved – during the NFL's owner meetings in May. As a result, any coach that gets flagged twice for violating the unsportsmanlike conduct rules will now get ejected from the game. According to Football Zebras' Cameron Filipe, something that has never happened at the NFL-level before.

The rule adjustment should not impact the New England Patriots too much. After all, the team typically has one of the most disciplined benches and coaching staffs in the league.