In two short days the Chiefs will begin their 2013 preseason games. So, technically this is still the off season? Well, maybe not but, with the kind of negative-press-off-season the NFL has had this year it might be a good idea to explore ways to make life a better place. Well, at least better in the NFL.
Before getting to the rules I believe can make this football world a better place, let’s take a look at what owners have actually adopted this off season. In no particular order, the first rule that stands out is:
Forget everything else you knew about the so-called Tuck Rule. It’s history. Now, if a player has started a throwing motion and loses possession, it’s an incomplete pass. Period. Let the “JustBlogBaby” babies cry about the Raiders real place in history. The flip side of the Raider nation pain coin has always been a reason for Chiefs glee. In that way, the Tuck Rule is a rule that keeps on giving and giving, even after it’s dead and buried beneath the snowy tundra of Gillette Stadium. They should have called Tom Brady’s Tuck Rule play “The Immaculate In-completion” because after 2002 the Patriots went on to win 3 Super Bowls in 4 years on the wings of his little “tuck.” Quack!
No More “Peel Back” Blocking
Players may no longer use a “peel-back” block anywhere on the field. Not down field. Not in the tackle box. Thank God. It’s about time. Now, the team receiving a flag for a “peel back block” will receive a 15 yard penalty. I don’t think that’s enough. If a player is hurt as a result of such a block that player should be considered for sanctions. Limited time. Limited pay. And those rules should begin to be written into players contracts. I like big hits with the rest of them. But, who wants to see a good player’s career cut short by some sixth round cheap shot artist. Now, Rex Ryan can’t stick up for Matt Slauson.
During a PAT (or field goal), no member of the defense can stand over the long snapper. Defensive players must line up outside each shoulder of the long snapper. Plus, the defensive team may have no more than six players on any one side of the center when trying to block the kick. No overloading one side. Also, defensive linemen may not push each other into an offensive linemen. 15 yard penalty ensues. Expect more field goals and field goal tries.
Now known as the “Jim Schwartz Rule,” if a play is automatically reviewable the officiating crew will proceed to look at the replay, regardless of whether a coach has thrown a challenge flag or not. “Ma’am did you drop your hankie? Hankie? What Hankie?”
For some reason owners felt the jersey numbers needed a little clarifying so only players wearing a specific set, in a ten number range, may be worn by that group of position players. For instance, tight ends must wear numbers 80 to 89, while H-backs and fullbacks will only wear jersey numbers 40 to 49. Wow, let the wild confusion dissipate!
In recent years the NFL has limited the use of the crown of the helmet hits, by the defense. However, offensive players have abused the rule. So, we now have a rule to limit running backs who use the crown of their helmet outside of the tackle box. This new rule got more response from players than any other this off season.
~ ~ ~
I know, there are enough rules in the NFL already. However, I believe that the following three rules “could” make the game more enjoyable to watch or improve the integrity of the game.
1. A No Late Hit Rule Following a TD
A penalty should be given to any defensive player who pushes, hits or intentionally bumps an offensive player 5 yards deep, or deeper, in the end zone after that player has scored a TD while running the ball across the goal line.
Recently, I was re-watching a Jamaal Charles highlight video and after JC had finished one of his long TDs against the Steelers, one of their players pushed Charles in the back after he scored the TD… SEVEN YARDS DEEP IN THE END ZONE.
This situation with the late hits in the end zone reminds me of a dangerous cross section near to where I used to live in city in Missouri, very close to KC. Someone was killed at the cross section but the city did nothing and added no traffic light. It wasn’t until another person was killed at the exact same spot before the city took action and added the necessary caution equipment and traffic signals.
That might be overstating things here but, what will it take before the league takes steps to protect defenseless players who have just scored? These players believe the play is long over… which it is since technically the play ended once the ball crossed the plane of the goal line… but then all of a sudden poop happens. Well, the poopers should get penalized!
The league talks a good talk about wanting to take steps to make the game safer. They “could” take steps in advance of injuries coming.
The question is if they will.
2. A Celebration Zone Rule
Let the TD celebrations get creative! I’m in favor of players who score being given more time to celebrate. One full minute. 60 long seconds!
Others want to keep the length of games from getting out of hand. What if they could do both? Would you be for it then?
Give players who score a TD… room on their own sideline “next-to the endzone” time to celebrate for one minute. However, game-play and the clock would not be stopped for this and the extra point will ensue at it’s usual time.
I don’t know why… if someone scores the last point in a game in overtime, or with no time left on the clock to win the game… then they are allowed to celebrated for days and sometimes months if it’s the last game of the year. But, if a player scores a TD or a field goal or a pick-six, they pretty much have to get right back off the field. Some players, such as defensive players, dream their whole life of scoring even one TD and when they do, they should have their moment in the sun. And, that “moment” should last longer then ten seconds.
If you’re playing in Lambeau Field you’re allowed to jump into the stands and celebrate with fans. If they can do that there, then why not designate a specific area so players everywhere, in all stadiums, can take a minute to express their joy without interrupting the flow of the game.
I suggest the following four locations to celebrate as shown in yellow.
Once a player scores they would be given the Touchdown signal by officials then given the following “Celebrate Over There” signal and directed to the Celebration Zone.
A player who scores would be directed to the Celebration Zone on their respective team’s side of the field. If they don’t go there it could also result in a taunting penalty.
Other players, who are on the scoring player’s team, may also go to the Celebration Zone to celebrate with that player for one minute.
These are areas of the field normally occupied by the press, photographers and cheerleaders. Having press and cheerleaders surround those areas once there is a score will give a wider public the view to the moment. TV interviewers could step in quickly and ask a single question to find out first hand what happened on the play… much the same way interviewers are given access to coaches before and after half time. These can be great “in the flow of the game” moments for fans — at home and in the stadium — to feel closer to the action.
Owners could publicize the sale of seats that are near the Celebration Zone. These seats, which may have been thought to be “less than the greatest” seats in the past, could be a boon and, the opportunity to purchase these “Celebration Zone” seats so close to the area where players would go to let loose following a TD could be a major attraction and reason to raise ticket prices… for the “budget conscious” owner.
I say let the extended celebrating begin and let’s find more ways to incorporate it into the flow of the game without making the game longer. I have always kind of enjoyed the hidden marker in a sock routine. No need to penalize it. Let’s get this party started!
3. If You Can’t Do the Time… Don’t Draft The Slime!
If a prospect has had any kind of criminal history prior to being drafted, and then has more trouble with the law once they are a signed NFL player, the team who drafted that player should have to lose a comparable draft pick.
So, as a hypothetical example… let’s say a team called the New England Patty Cakes once drafted a player… fictitiously named… Aaron Homicidez in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL draft. He had a criminal record while he’s in college but the team ignores this and so drafts him… cuz he cud katch dat ball so dang gud. Three years later his criminal instincts take over again and he finds himself in jail and the team is so aghast. A life is lost and the team is left troubled and humiliated.
The league should step in and require that team will lose a comparable fourth round pick in the next draft.
If this kind of player turns into a Pro Bowler then the organizational and league embarrassment is even greater and so the punishment should be extended and greater.
For example: if a similar player like Joe McKnutt of the New York Jokes was drafted one player right before Aaron Homicidez in 2010 but, McKnutt remained rather undistinguished in his career and not greatly popular… then that player and team should not receive the same extended league penalties. So, the Mr. Homicidez team might lose a pair of fourth round picks for taking the reckless risk of drafting him whereas the New York Jokes would only lose one fourth round selection even though they could have drafted Mr. Homicidez to begin with.
The point is, NFL teams need to have the real consequences of their draft choices firmly tied to the players they are selecting. The only way to do that is to make the consequence fit the action… the action of the team taking a high organizational risk on a highly risky character.
We hear a lot of “talk” about cleaning up the image of the league… while simultaneously this has been the worst off-season for that image. If you want to purge these characters from the league, let the purging begin with the teams themselves.
You know the old adage: put up or shut up.
What do you think Addicts? Is there a rule you’d like to see adopted or altered?