My NFL rules changes

28 12 2010

I have been in Montana the past two weeks, obviously without access to my mail in New York City, and so I don’t have the new ESPN Magazine in-hand. I haven’t bothered to check the new mag on, and I feel like I don’t need to in order to know the new issue’s theme. ESPN has promoted the magazine just fine during each of the five or six bowl games it’s broadcasted. And the theme this issue, I believe, is new rules that should be enacted in various sports.

Then I watched Bill Cowher recommend NFL rules changes during a weird, chemistry-themed spot on CBS’ Sunday pre-game show. So, I figured I would come up with three rules changes that I think should take place. (I’ll be honest — you’ve probably heard/read arguments for all these.) Here they are:

1) Change defensive pass interference to 15 yards instead of spot of the penalty.

Sure, not all pass interference penalties are created equal. But how often do you see NFL quarterbacks throw the ball downfield in the hopes that they’ll get an interference call if the pass falls incomplete? Think of how often announcers comment during games that so-and-so quarterback should take a chance downfield to see if he gets an interference call. It’s ridiculous. The lack of fairness which results from handing out the same yardage penalty for various interference calls isn’t as game-changing as the inequality of being able to throw almost any type of pass and having a decent chance at drawing a flag on the opponent.

2) Make it so that coaches can’t call a timeout during a field goal attempt with five or fewer seconds left on the play clock.

There’s been a lot of debate on this. I don’t believe that a kicker should have to possibly kick two times to achieve one result. Let a kicker do his job without fretting in the final seconds whether the scheming opposing coach will call a timeout. The point of a field goal play is to see if a kicker can measure the distance and accuracy to kick the ball between the goal posts. It isn’t to see whether the opposing coach can let all the time dwindle on the play clock before “icing” the kicker.

3) Change the ruling that made The Calvin Johnson Catch an incomplete pass.

You know what I’m talking about — Megatron’s would-be game-winning catch vs. the Bears in Week 1 was ruled incomplete because he didn’t maintain control through the catch, whatever that means. I think it’s because after he caught the ball, he didn’t continue to control the ball as he fell to the ground and picked himself back up. How about the NFL makes a rule that if you control the ball up until the point  you fall to the ground, it’s a catch? The ground shouldn’t factor into a decision of complete vs. incomplete.

Thanks for reading…





2 responses

3 01 2011
Angel Navedo

Couldn’t agree more with your opinion on pass interference penalties. It’s too crippling for an event that’s circumstantial and open to interpretation. How often do we see pass interference flags that weren’t really pass interference? Now an offense has a new lease on downs against a deflated defense. It’s a harsh punishment for something that isn’t done intentionally, and no players are coached to do with malice.

12 08 2011

Amen to the pass interference penalty! I hate it when its ball to the endzone & get called for interference and ball gets placed at 1yd. Line with 1st down. Might as well just give the team a TD! Plus its jacked up offensive pass interference is 15 yds. But defensive pass interference could be a 50yd penalty. Should be 15yd penelty unless its like a 5yd. Pass then it should just be a spot foul and place ball there.

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