Friday, February 3, 2012

5 *more* NFL rules that need to go away


two weeks back i wrote up my top 10 ridiculous NFL rules that need to go away.  while writing those i came up with a few more.  it was pretty easy.  let’s start with a good one...




1.  here’s what’s wrong with the new overtime rule


first... let’s just say i had no problem with the old rule, but i am ok with trying to improve it.


but let's start here, because it’s a great example of the nfl fixing a problem in the most complicated half-assed way.  it's complicated cuz it takes a few minutes and a few pages of text to explain. it's half-assed, because if the first team scores a TD, the second team still doesn’t get a possession.   


so let's fix it.  here are three new rules that are simpler and more fair:


a.  possession-swapping: this is the way it works in hockey (sort of), tennis, baseball and oh right, college football.  first team does what they can with a possession, if the second team betters that, they win, comes up short, they lose, or ties, you get one more pair of possessions.


b.  a full 15 minute quarter:  this is the way it works in hockey (sort of) and basketball. it’s a mini-game.  play the entire 15 and whoever’s in the lead after that wins.  this is easy to do because it simply extends the game to a 5th quarter.  no other rules need to change.  tied after that, go to a 6th, 7th.


c.  or maybe just the old rules:  it was a straight coin-flip and a straight sudden death. sounds unfair if you lose the toss, the ball and get 3 points kicked against you, but historically and statistically the receiving team would only win overtime about half the time.  some would say this isn’t fair because the second team doesn’t get a possession.  fine, but at least it’s simpler.


but if you’re gonna keep the new complicated rules, at least explain it clearly:


overtime is sudden death, except if the team receiving the ball first scores a field goal on their first possession”  (period)


you don’t need to get into what happens with fumbles, safeties, etc.  it’s all covered in that one simple sentence.




2.  here’s what’s wrong with video replay


probably *not* what you might think.   


sure, no one likes how replays slow the game down.  it tries to analyze a train wreck with surgical precision, but we all love it when our team benefits from something being confirmed or overturned, so I’m not gonna get all purist about it.  that’s not the problem.  


rather, the fastest and most correct way to figure out what happened is off the field.  put an official up in the booth and have him to make the decision, then call it down to the field..  much quicker that way.  college football already does it this way and it definitely speeds things up.  (or maybe coors *wants* more silver bullet commercials) 


shoot, in the NHL the official review is sometimes not even in the same country as the game being played.  plus the booth can see many angles at once timecoded together.  under the hood there’s only one camera view at a time.  so go on coach!  let that little red bean bag fly!  


which brings us to...




3.  here’s what’s wrong with coaches challenge


look, if you keep getting challenges right, you should get more than three.  


why should a team be rewarded for a few bad calls but punished for a lot of bad calls.  but of course get one wrong and you’re done.  that way you still can’t “game” the system and you still don’t slow down the game any more than it is already.


yeah, yeah, your probably saying that this is less of a problem now that all scores are reviewed and refs call challenges after 2:00 warnings.  i have two words to say about that: true, and moot.  reviewing all scores is ham-handed and misdirected.  most scores are so obvious and don't need it, and this change to force a video review all of them slows the game down when we should be finding ways to keep things moving.   


simple:  if it's worth the risk, the coach will challenge... so review it.  if it's not, they won't... so don't review it.  either way it's in the coach's hands.




4.  here is what’s wrong with eligible receivers


as it is, an offense can only have 6 eligible receivers.  why??  let’s make this simpler.


let’s start with the assertion that every man on the field is a football player.  if a lineman can recover a fumble and run with it, why can't he can’t he catch it and run with it?  if everyone on the defense is eligible, then everyone on the offense shud be eligible.  is this suddenly going to change offensive schemes and make more linemen actual receivers by design?  No, they’re too big and slow, but it will create more receptions as QBs have 5 more check-down opportunities to get an extra yard or two.


and c'mon let's admit it, every once in a while it *is* a lot of fun to watch a 6'5" 325# guard rumble and bumble his way down the field, isn't it?  big!  boy!  with!  foot!  ball!


or are we saying that a QB fleeing the pocket then hurling the ball into the stands is a part of the game that’s just too valuable to give up? 




5.  here is what’s wrong with the tuck rule


omg... it’s obvious.  the tuck rule is exactly the opposite of what it should be.  


in short, if a QB is clearly not throwing the ball, and he drops it, it should be a fumble.  just like any other player who does the same thing.  let’s face it, this rule is still in place because it helped out that ugg’s spokesmodel who's bangin giselle bundchen.  if it’d happened to any mortal QB, it *would* be the opposite of what it is.  all players are supposed to be equal, but of course some are "more equal" than others (...and some "less equal", right mike vick?)




thanks NFL.  just change those 5.  oh, and the 10 from before.  you rock!




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