Thursday, April 03, 2008

NFL Rule Ch-ch-ch-changes

The NFL owners approved a few rule changes that will be in force the next time two teams tee it up and put the ball in play. The approved changes are as follows along with my initial reaction to said changes...

1. A recommendation to eliminate force-out decisions on pass completions near the sidelines. Now, officials will have to decide only whether a receiver landed inbounds or not. The intended result is more consistency.

TL’s View: On the surface this might appear to simplify things for the officials but what is to prevent a defender from literally catching and carrying a receiver out of bounds to have a caught pass ruled incomplete? It doesn’t take an overactive imagination to see many would be touchdowns negated after a pass is caught near the back of the end zone in heavy traffic. This could also change the way scouts look at defensive backs. Perhaps an even higher premium will be placed on the size and strength of corners and safeties.

2. The "Phil Dawson field goal rule." Now, certain field goals can be reviewed by instant replay, including kicks that bounce off the uprights. Under the previous system, no field goals could be reviewed.

TL’s View: It’s about time. I’m sure the 1965 Colts would have appreciated this rule after a kick by Packers’ placekicker Don Chandler was ruled good although even to the kicker himself the boot appeared to be wide right. Nevertheless Jim Tunney signaled the kick good to force the game into overtime – one that the Colts lost enabling the Packers to capture the Western Conference Title and go on to win the NFL Championship.

By the way, how many of you left that game against the Browns last season only to find out the Ravens did not in fact win the game in regulation?

3. Deferring the opening coin toss. This is similar to the college rule. Previously, the winner of the coin toss could choose only to receive or to kick off.

TL’s View: This could have helped the Ravens many times during the Billick Administration. How many of you wanted the Ravens to defer particularly at home, get the Ravens defense on the field and immediately begin winning the battle for field position while having the advantage of getting the ball to start the second half? Yeah, me too!

4. A direct snap from center that goes backward will now be treated as a fumble. Previously, it was ruled a false start.

TL’s View: Quarterback’s will need to leave their skirts in the locker room. Rule makes sense to me. Let’s hope Chris Chester has big hands, develops a nice touch and has a great memory. Remember the snap count Chris.

5. Eliminating the 5-yard face mask penalty. Now, only the serious face mask will be called (and will be assessed as a 15-yard penalty). The major foul will involve twisting or grabbing the face mask.

TL’s View: On the surface, this rule makes sense. Too many times it seemed that defenders were penalized 5 yards for ticky-tacky fouls keeping drives alive for the opponent. Now officials will call only those penalties that are blatantly obvious fouls. At least that is the goal. I’m a bit concerned now though that fouls that used to get a 5 yard flag and might not have been significant enough to move the chains will now give the offense an even greater advantage. And speaking of offensive advantages, why is it that a ball carrier can throw a vicious stiff arm into the face of a defender without consequence?

6. A player on defense, similar to the quarterback, can now wear a radio helmet to accept defensive play calls from the sidelines or coach’s booth.

TL’s View: Ground control to Major Tom…what’s fair is fair.

A proposed rule change to prohibit hair hanging over the back of jerseys to the nameplate has been tabled. The proposal was championed by Herm Edwards and the Kansas City Chiefs. Herm apparently has trouble not only managing the game clock but also remembering players’ names. Salons across America featuring hair extensions breathed a collective sigh of relief upon learning of the tabling decision.

Photo by Sabina Moran


Anonymous said...

To address 2 of your views, the rule change announcements include the following

1. Defenders will not be allowed to "catch and carry" receivers out of bounds.

2. A special point of emphasis is being placed on not allowing offensive players to abuse the defensive players headgear as you observed.