From NFLLabor.com (11/9/10): To help fans and media better understand the NFL’s player-safety rules, the NFL office circulated the portion of the 2010 Player Policy Manual dealing with those rules. This is the same information that was distributed to all players and coaches at the start of training camp.
The materials include detailed information on illegal hits, including diagrams. There has been no change in rules since the start of the season, only an increase in the level of discipline for violations of existing rules.
Following are additional notes on league discipline for violating on-field rules and the player discipline appeal process:
Any play involving a violation that needs to be reviewed for possible discipline, whether flagged on the field or not, is referred by the NFL Officiating Department to Executive Vice President of Football Operations Ray Anderson and his staff, which includes Director of Football Operations Merton Hanks, a nine-year NFL veteran (1991-99). Hanks or Anderson make the initial determination for discipline for on-field violations.
The player has the right to appeal league discipline. The Collective Bargaining Agreement specifies that appeals of fines or suspensions of players for unnecessary roughness or unsportsmanlike conduct are determined by the Commissioner’s designee. The decision on persons appointed as the Commissioner’s designee for on-field player discipline appeals is made in consultation with the NFL Players Association.
Appeals are heard and decided by Pro Football Hall of Fame player and former NFL coach Art Shell and by former NFL coach Ted Cottrell. Shell and Cottrell are appointed and paid jointly by the NFL and NFLPA. All on-field fine money collected by the NFL is used for charitable purposes. These funds have been used to support retired player programs, including the NFL Player Care Foundation and NFLPA Players Assistance Trust; disaster relief initiatives; and other charities supporting youth, education and sports-related medical research.