I love rule changes. I really do. I feel no league is perfect and could always improve but the NFL rules committee really dropped the ball on this one.
Rule Change #1: There can be video replays on a loose ball that could be either a fumble or an incomplete pass.
The “Hochuli Rule” is probably a decent rule change. I’m saddened that there’s a Hochuli rule and it doesn’t involve his massive arms.
Rule Change #2: It already was illegal for a defender to deliver a helmet-to-helmet hit to a defenseless receiver. The new rule extends the protection given to the receiver who's in the act of catching the ball, also prohibiting hits to the receiver's helmet when the defender leads with his shoulder or delivers a forearm.
As if there wasn’t already enough rules helping out the offense and crippling the defense, they decide to add this. Hopefully this is one of those rules nobody pays any attention to unless someone gets hurt. Do you know how manytimes a forearm is going to hit a defender’s head not out of maliciousness, but out of trying to make a legit football playing (like…reaching to grab the guy)? This rule could be out of hand and hopefully the refs just let this one go.
Rule Change #3: The owners also approved a rule giving similar protection to defenders, making it illegal for an offensive player to deliver a blindside block by using the helmet, shoulder or forearm to deliver a blow to a defensive player's head.
This was already illegal, wasn’t it? It’s called a block in the back, or have human beings learned to run with their heads turned all the way around, Exorcist style? This seems like lip service to the defensive players. “See, we gave you something too! So what if that rule already exists?”
Rule Change #4: The kicking team now is prohibited from bunching too many players in the middle of the field, or on a single side of the field. That eliminates dangerous scrambles involving too many players on onside kicks.
I don’t care. Onside kicks never work and are a waste of time. Onside kicks should be a kicker, one recovering player and one receiving player. That’d be some crazy stuff.
Rule Change #5: The receiving team now is prohibited from using a blocking "wedge" of more than two players on a kickoff return.
I really don’t care.
Rule Change #6: Replay now can be used to determine if a loose ball hit the sideline. A Cardinals kickoff in January's NFC championship game was ruled to have gone out of bounds even though it was recovered in bounds by Arizona. Replays showed the ball never hit or crossed the sideline.
Another decent rule. Getting things right is the most important thing these replay rules can bring.
Rule Change #7: The owners eliminated a rekick after an illegal onside kick, awarding the ball immediately to the receiving team
Yeah, let’s get right to the action. Nobody wants to see more extra team plays! I’m serious, by the way.
Rule Change #8: The draft order for playoff teams was reworked and will be based on where teams were eliminated in the postseason. Last season, the Chargers (8-8) beat the Colts (12-4) in a wild-card game, but San Diego will pick before Indianapolis in next month's draft. The new procedure begins in 2010.
That wasn’t already a rule? Come on, NFL.
Rule Change #9: A waiver period during the first two weeks of training camp was established. Owners also reworded when the postseason waiver period begins — previously it was after the Pro Bowl. In the future, the Super Bowl will be played after the Pro Bowl in some seasons, and the waiver period will begin after the final postseason game.
Good for them.
Rule Change #10: On all fumbles and laterals that go out of bounds, the clock will start when the referee signals ready for play.
More of the NFL trying to speed up NFL games. Soon the clock will continue to run after incomplete passes too. You’ll see.
As of now we play 16 games with 1 off-week but Commissioner Goodell wants to lessen the pre-season and lengthen the regular season to 17 or 18 games. This is a great idea!
No NFL team needs four pre-season games(plus mini camps, training camps, practices, off-season workouts) to see who should make the team and start. Injuries also seem to dampen the mood in pre-season as well. We all remember Mike Vick breaking his leg in a pre-season game. This was a big deal at the time as it was when he was a phenom and not a dog killer.
The biggest reason this is a great idea is this:
“The longer the season, the better chance the better teams make the playoffs.”
Of course it’s still one and done in the playoffs and the best team doesn’t always win THERE, but we could make sure the best teams at least MAKE it to the playoffs with a lengthened regular season. It’s more money for the NFL and more drunken weekends for me! Everyone’s a winner!
Let’s hope this happens for the 2010 season.