NFL Proposed New Rule Changes: A Fan’s Take

The NFL Competition Committee has proposed 13 new rule changes. I have listed them and included my perspective on the changes I favor and those I don’t.

Rule change proposals:

1. Move the kickoff to the 40-yard line.

My Take: It started with a move back in an effort to increase KO returns because there were too many boring touchbacks. Then in the name of player safety, moved up again. Moving up from the 35 to the 40 will only result in less returns. Teams have adjusted their kicking games to the current spot so just keep it where it is and stop messing with it.

2. Expand instant replay to include personal foul penalties.

My Take: I’m not in favor of any replay reviews that are going to make the games even longer. Too much reviewing and not enough playing going on. To borrow a country song from Toby Keith, “A little less talk and a lot more action”.

3. Eliminate overtime in the preseason.

My Take: YES! Please eliminate OT in preseason. I wrote about a terrible OT preseason game Dallas played in 2006 with the Vikings “Worst Preseason Game Ever”. No one cares who wins these games and it’s just a chance to increase injuries. Way over due.

4. Extend the goal posts an additional five feet above the cross bar.

My Take: I guess an effort to help referees determine if a high kick is good. Seems unnecessary with refs standing right under them. I’m indifferent so let the refs vote on it.

5. Move the line of scrimmage for one-point extra point kicks to the defensive team’s 25-yard line. Two-point conversion attempts would still be snapped from the 2-yard line.

My Take: I get it, some think extra points are automatic and therefore a bit mundane. Sounds good until your team loses a game after missing an extra point from the 25. For me, this is too much change too quickly. Maybe start with the 10 yard line.

6. Put six cameras on all boundary lines — sideline, goal line, end line, to guarantee coverage for replay reviews.

My Take: It will just make fans wait longer for them to check all the different camera angles. Enough delays. No more cameras needed unless you are going to provide more cheerleader coverage of course. Now there is an idea.

7. Permit a coach to challenge any official’s decision, except scoring plays which are automatically reviewed.

My Take: This can get completely out of control and be potentially used to intentionally delay the game. Do we want games to last for 8 hours or something? Not just no, but heck no!

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.

My Take: I’m on board with player safety, but it sounds like this will lead to more flags and only more referee involvement without the intended result.

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.

My Take: What the heck? Please I beg you to not pass this rule change. Talk about a delay in action, this would cause me to change the channel and never return. The game officials have been neutered enough as it is, so allow them to just make the call.

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. (This is referred to as the NaVorro Bowman rule, after a controversial call in the NFC Championship Game.)

My Take: These rules for review may need to be updated but this proposal lacks specifics. Return to sender.

11. Don’t stop the clock on a sack.

My Take: I’m in favor of this change. It can speed up the games so let’s do it.

12. Modify pass interference so that it can be called within one yard of the line of scrimmage.

My Take: The rules are already too much in favor of the receivers and offense. Only will lead to more flags. I say no.

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.

My Take: It’s ambiguous in how this will benefit the game and may be beneficial at times while harmful at other times. Go back and revise this one some more and submit next season.

Wrap it up:
No more OT for preseason games is over due. No brainer.
Speed up games by allowing the clock to run after a sack.
Don’t pass more rules to review every single thing that can happen on a football field. It can become too disruptive and take away from the viewing experience. Viewers have more viewing options than ever and less attention spans than ever so get on with the game.
UPDATE: RESULTS of meeting on 3/26/14