Wednesday, March 16, 2011

2 comments Another Terrible Rule Change

Another step in the NFL's feigned attempt at player safety has come upon us. In the proposed change, kickoffs will happen on the 35 yard line and returners who kneel it in the end zone will allow their teams to take the field at the 25. They have also outlawed the wedge block. Because clearly this will eliminate the high speed collisions that highlight every kick off.

I'm all for player safety. I like the football players, so I'd like to see them continue breathing. But we're hurting the product changes that will have minimal effect. Players will still be required to run full speed at each other. 3rd team linebackers will still try to make a name for themselves with SportsCenter hits. The damage will be 95% of what it is already.

Besides the NFL's obvious attempts to strengthen their bargaining position in the current childish standoff, the return team is getting a distinct advantage. Sure, the kickers may boot more touchbacks, but the 25-yard-line is hardly a penalty for the offensive team. And with the new rules, we're off-setting the defensive advantage with a five-yard bonus.

Long story short, I'm tired of the NFL's vain attempts at player safety. And if you're going to actually make a serious attempt, don't totally change the product.


rich said...


You're absolutely right in that these new changes will only make a minor dent in the problem.

I get the thinking that if you move up where the ball is kicked from and adding 5 yards to the touchback, you encourage more players to kneel down than run it out, but how many plays in a game does this actually effect? 10? 15?

Even then, how many injuries will this actually prevent? Most kicks will still have returns, so the total number of plays that will actually change you can probably count on one hand.

The stupidest thing about the whole rule change is that they can make other changes that actually make a difference. For example, watching game film of Harrison and banning 90% of what he does. The NFL could also mandate that teams change the turf they use and slow the game down somewhat or provide extra padding for when players heads get smashed into the ground.

The overarching issue is that player safety may be a problem that has no solution. It's simply an inherent risk that players take for the paycheck they get. Make sure the players are fully aware of the dangers are, so that when something horrible happens, the player (hopefully) has planned for the worst case scenario.

Bengoodfella said...

Rich, I don't like the rule change because I like to see kick returns. I don't know if I like the idea of kneel downs in the end zone all the time. Having a kicker who can make the end zone on a kick is an advantage under the old rule, so I feel like it changes a bit of the game.

Most kicks will still have returns but I don't like the idea of a rule that has fewer kick returns. I think they are exciting.