The NFL, the game that relates that relates to more people in America than any other sport has taken a minor step back during the annual meeting this year in Phoenix, AZ. A series of rules were passed to “enhance” the safety and the game overall. A listing can be found here.
These are my thoughts are the rule changes:
- Illegal challenges – Of all the rules, this is the only one I agree with changing. The was no reason to no right the wrong in the play no matter how stupid the head coach can be from time to time. If this rule would not have changed, I would have wondered if Bud Selig and his take 10 years to make a rule easy rule change crew was running the show.
- No overloading on XP and FG’s – The game of football is a rough game, but changing rules like this is watering down the game and stop creativity. This is just another one of Roger Goodell’s don’t let the players sue the league 30 years from now policy rule changes.
- Tuck Rule – This rule had existed for years upon years without it causing any trouble, but one snowy day in New England changed that in the most replayed example of this rule. Anytime any play even came close to the tuck rule, we saw a replay of Tom Brady, whenever Tom Brady played on TV we saw the reply, whenever there was a game played in snow we saw a replay. Only one of two things was going to happen to stop everybody from talking about the tuck rule, one… Delete the tuck rule or two… Send Tom Brady off to an unnamed remote island in the Pacific and strike his name from all records in a Moses in the Ten Commandments style kind of banishment.
- Allowing 40’s range for Backs and Tight Ends – And why is this an important rule change? Why doesn’t football just say that all offensive linemen are in a certain number range and everybody else is eligible? End of problem.
- Peel Back Blocks – Please see point #2
- No leading with Crown of Helmet – Why do we play with helmets? What is the point anymore? You can not touch anybody in the helmet, you can not have helmet to helmet hits from the defender and now running backs can not lead outside the magic 3 yard box. So why do we play with helmets? If everybody plays within the rules, you should not need helmets
To me, these additional rules/changes are another step towards a more complex, more NBA rule like structure. The NFL game is no longer a game that anybody can just start watching and understand. The game is filled with all these complex exceptions that make the game hard to watch and even harder for officials to officiate. All you need is the teams to pass a rule allowing a mid-level salary cap exception and we can start calling this the NB&FLA(National Basketball and Football League Association).
With more complexity, you create the potential to drive away fans or future fans. That is what you have with the NFL, the rules have been watered down and people want to the game to be exciting but not watered down. I personally think this could be the opportunity for Soccer to breakout in America. The game is simple (minus offsides) to understand, no goofy rules, and the players are not actively suing the league.
Whatever comes of the rule changes this year, the fans will continue to show in the short term, but too many rules too soon just might de-throne the game and vilify whoever is driving the bus for going off the cliff.