An Aside: Opinions on Proposed NFL Rule Changes
My blog is 99% percent about my development exploits, but I do like other things too…like football. Next week, there are a number of rule changes up for vote by the owners. Here are a few opinions on the matter:
1. Move the kickoff from the 35-yard line to the 40-yard line.
No. Most kickoffs already go out of the back of the endzone. If we’re so interested in preventing kickoff-related injuries, why not just get rid of it altogether? I say either make the kickoff relevant (move it back to the 30-yard line), or drop it altogether.
2. Expand instant replay to include personal foul penalties.
I think this is fine. Personal foul penalties are costly, so having recourse on such calls is a good idea.
3. Eliminate overtime periods in the preseason for player safety reasons.
How about eliminating the pre-season altogether? I’d rather have a longer regular season (like 2 more games), rather than suffering through the yawn-fest of the pre-season. Since that’s not going to happen, yes, let’s drop overtime in pre-season games…no need to drag them out any longer.
4. Extend the goalposts an additional five feet above the cross bar.
I honestly don’t care. I’d prefer that the goal posts just be removed from football altogether.
5. Move the line of scrimmage for extra points to the defensive team’s 25-yard line in order to make the point after a more competitive play.
I think this is a decent idea. Making the PAT a bit more of an unknown would hopefully spur the more exciting 2 point conversion.
Personally, I like the suggestion of getting rid of the PAT altogether. Automatically award 7 points, unless you want to go for the conversion. If you miss the conversion, you are only awarded 6 points. This would make the game go faster and just further move toward eliminating the boring kicking aspect of football.
6. Put fixed cameras on all boundary lines – the sideline, end line, and end zone – to supplement the TV cameras and to guarantee coverage of those lines for replay no matter where the TV cameras are located.
I’m not sure you need a “rule” for this. It seems like the networks broadcasting the games would have enough incentive to do this anyway. But if there has to be a “rule”, I’m in favor.
7. Permit a coach to challenge any official’s decision, except scoring plays, which are automatically reviewed, to make more extensive use of the replay system.
I’m fine with this, if only because with the evolution of the replay system over the years, this is all but inevitable.
8. Protect players from getting the sides of their legs rolled up on — the rule already says a blocker can’t hit an opponent in the back of the legs, this proposal will add “or side” to the rule.
9. Allow the referee to consult with members of the NFL officiating department during replay reviews. The referee would be able to speak with the command center in New York to help in reviewing a play.
I’m against this, primarily because I think it will extend already-interminably-long games. The replay system as it exists now sucks up a lot of time…having to coordinate with remote sources (regardless of the technology) will only make for longer games. I think the officials on site should make decisions, stick with them, and let everyone just deal with it.
10. Re-organize the rules about what can be reviewed and what cannot be reviewed, including making the recovery of a loose ball in the field of play reviewable.
Philosophically, I’m fine with this. What I’m not fine with is every play in football eventually being analyzed. If the “domain” of reviewable events is expanded while the “number” of reviews is kept in check, fine. If both the domain and number are expanded, no thank you.
11. Don’t stop the clock on a sack.
How about this? Don’t stop the clock. Ever.
12. Modification of the pass interference rule so that it can be called within one yard of the line of scrimmage.
No, no, no. Pass interference is already an over-called, disproportional penalty. If this “rule” would include only penalizing with 5 yards, but no auto-first down, I would be okay with that. If it’s an auto-first down, though, I think it’s a terrible idea.
13. Enforce defensive fouls behind the line of scrimmage from the previous spot, rather than from the end of the run or from the spot of the foul.
I don’t have strong feelings on this.
14. Joel’s Rule: Eliminate the Punt
The NFL is all about increasing scoring, which increases the excitement of the game, which increases viewership, which makes more money. The #1 new rule that would accomplish this overnight is this: punting the punt.
Punting is the largest bail-out of offenses that can’t produce. It allows a team to be boring on offense with (relatively) small consequences. What if we removed the ability of a team to punt the ball, though? It would obviously squeeze at least one more play out of the offense each possession…this is a good thing. But on the excitement level, it brings severe consequences to teams which can’t produce. In my system, if you don’t convert, you turn over the ball on downs to the other team EVERY TIME. Regardless of your field position, the other team’s getting the ball if you fail. This will inevitably lead to shorter fields, more scoring opportunities, and overall a more dynamic and exciting game. Couple this with getting rid of the field goal, you are left with just a lot more of what’s interesting about football (offense vs. defense) and none of the obnoxious parts that make an already-long game feel that much longer.
Dear NFL: I’ll be looking for my check in the mail soon. Thanks.
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