My rules changes: football

In what was supposed to be weekly installments I was looking at most of the major sports and throwing some ideas out there about some potential changes. It’s been less than two weeks since the first post, so that’s a minor victory in my quest to post more. In the second post we’ll look at pro football and the NFL, which Sunday will be the focal point of all sports as the New England Patriots take on the New York Giants in the Super Bowl. As I said before, not all of them will be great ideas.

* The pass interference rule is broken. The first thing that the NFL needs to do is define explicitly what pass interference is. We’ve all see plays were it sure looks like interference took place only no flag is thrown, followed by what looks to be great pass coverage that draws a penalty. Figure out what is and isn’t pass interference and we’ll go on from there.

Once the rule is defined the penalty in the NFL sometimes is too harsh–it’s a spot foul so it could be a 50-60 yard penalty That’s way too much of a penalty for something that may have happened accidentally. Defensive pass interference needs to have two penalties: one for 15 yards and an automatic first down for interference that’s not intentional, and a spot foul for intentional interference. This will stop defensive players from just hauling down receivers that beat them outside of 15 yards.

One other thing that makes no sense to me is offensive pass interference is a 10 yard penalty and the down is replayed. If it’s an automatic first down on defensive pass interference, why isn’t it a loss of down on the offense? If I were in charge, it most certainly would be.

* What’s a catch? Just like pass interference I see one play and think “he caught it”, and it’s ruled incomplete only to see another play where it looks like he didn’t catch it only to see the officials signal he did. Let’s define exactly has to happen for a catch to be made and we’ll stick to it.

* Roughing the passer has gotten out of hand. I’m all for protecting the quarterback, but he’s still a football player. A defensive player jumping to block a pass attempt that brushes the QB’s facemask/helmet is not guilty of roughing the passer. Neither is a defender laying on the ground taking a swipe at the QB’s legs. There needs to be some common sense here, although in all fairness common sense is lacking in every sport is seems.

Also, because the league is trying to protect the QB far too many of them use that to their advantage and fake like they’re going to slide so the defender lets up and the QB can run right pass them. If you’re going to penalize defenders for drilling the QB when he’s sliding you need to prevent QBs from faking that they’re going to slide. Unsportsmanlike conduct, 15 yards and loss of down.

* Change the replay system so that a team that has two successful challenges continues to get challenges until they’re wrong. To be honest, is an officiating crew is having such a bad game that a team was right that the refs were wrong three times why would you penalize that team by saying they can’t keep showing them they may be wrong? Teams should also be able to challenge any play at any time provided they have challenges remaining. Why should they not be able to challenge a play inside of two minutes?

Another change in the replay system that needs to be made is on scoring plays. The current rule is all scoring plays are automatically reviewed by the replay judge and if there’s a potential issue the referee is notified and the play is looked at under the current two-minute rules. All plays that result in a potential score should automatically be looked at. If the refs screwed up and called a pass incomplete and judged the ball didn’t break the goal line they just wash their hands of the play and move on?

* Let the player’s celebrate scoring a touchdown. as long as they’re not openly taunting their opponents I say give them a few seconds to celebrate. Getting into the endzone is hard work and worthy of celebration.

* Off-setting personal fouls make no sense. Penalize the offense 15 yards, and then when the other team gets the ball penalize them the 15 yards. And while we’re at it, penalties against the offense that are half the distance to the goal should also force the line to get a first down out the amount of yards that can’t be enforced.

So, what changes would you make?

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