Eight Things the NFL Botched This Off-Season

The NFL got a few things wrong this off-season, and I'm grumpy about it.

The NFL is one of the most popular sports in North America, and its influence is spreading globally, including suites of games played in the United Kingdom. They are doing a lot of things right, and fan involvement and excitement are at all time highs.

However, and unfortunately, the NFL isn't perfect. They make some strange decisions that impact their product. This off-season is no exception, and I outline eight things they botched this off-season that impact their integrity, legacy, play, player safety, and fan involvement.

1. The new PAT rule. This new rule mandates that all kicked PAT attempts originate from the 15-yard line, essentially making it a 33-yard field goal. On the surface, the NFL is touting it as an attempt to make the single point less automatic, but the reality is they want more two-point conversions.

This new rule is wrong and was unneeded change for the sake of change. Well, unless you like scores of 11-9, 22-11, 18-3, etc, it's an answer in search of a question. In fact, Aaron Rodgers argued that it compromises player safety. He's also correct about it, and it contradicts much of the lip service and recent rules changes aimed at improving player safety. 

2. Another year without Jerry Kramer in the Hall of Fame. This is getting ludicrous at this point. We don't need to say much more about it at this point, but it's tragic that one of the best guards to ever play the game can't get into the hallowed halls.

Technically, it's the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the voters are sportswriters not employed by the NFL, but since the NFL seems to tout the enshrinement ceremonies and preseason Hall of Fame Game, I do hold them partially accountable for this debacle. I wrote an open letter at the old ALLGBP site that you are free to use, modify, and send in to the senior committee voting members.

[Author's note: this article was written and scheduled for publication before the Hall of Fame announced/will announce candidates for the class of 2016. This point may no longer be valid, or it may fuel another year of your silent rage.]

3. Deflategate that won't go away. Seriously? Are we still talking about this? The dispute is now occupying our federal courts. Aren't there more important things to be heard in courtrooms than whether or not someone has deflated balls?

Where there's smoke, there's fire, so there's more to the story than the average fan will ever know. But, is it worth it? The way the NFL has handled the whole process is leaving a tarnish on the shield. Let's just get back to football. You know, on the field, with real players, and balls between 12.5-13.5 psi. Certainly not over 13.5 psi, either.

4. No live pay-per-view games streaming online. Network television with fixed schedules is a dying medium. More people are streaming their contend on-demand than ever, taking advantage of services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and others. People are cutting the cable cord and ditching the dish.

The NBA seemed to get it, and are now offering single live game streams on demand for as low as $6.99 per contest

NFL fans aren't confined to their teams' home television market, and my own informal, super scientific, rock-solid poll on Twitter found that people are willing to pay at least $20 per game to stream it live on demand. That's $320 for the whole regular season. Take our money already.

Also, considering the Green Bay local FOX affiliate had little trouble streaming the Family Night Scrimmage, I'm sure the NFL can roll out similar technology in places not as terrible and in the middle of nowhwere like Green Bay. 

5. Failing to put fixed cameras on the goal line. What's the biggest cause of "lack of inconclusive video evidence" for replays involving breaking the plane? Cameras, camera angles, and the dependence upon which camera package the broadcasting network decided to use.

During the off-season, a rule was proposed that would place fixed cameras on the goal line to improve goal line reviews. The vote failed. Get ready for that 18-15 score being 12-15 because the NFL cheaped out on cameras. 

6. The preseason is still four games. Once upon a time, the NFL preseason was six games. This was when players sold cars and insurance in the offseason and came to training camp out of shape from too many benders of pork cracklins and the champagne of beers. They needed the live action to get into playing shape.

Now, players train year-round and, so a protracted preseason isn't necessary. In fact, it exposes players to more injury risks, which also goes against their lip service about improving player safety. Mike Freeman said it better than I could ever, so I'll redirect you to his recent piece. 

7. Three days of the NFL draft. I like the draft. I block off my calendar to watch it, and when it used to be a one day affair on April Saturdays, I'd build a couch fort and do my best sloth impersonation. I was ok with it going into primetime over two days. But, three days is just too much. The NFL is really taking the milking the tv ratings thing a little too far.

Once again, it was change for the sake of change and an answer in search of a question. The only benefit of a three-day draft is there is one less first round mock draft.

8. The gold 50-yard line markers. Maybe I'm nitpicking here, but get off my lawn anyway. To commemorate the Super Bowl's 50th anniversary, the NFL is having the teams paint the 50-yard line markers in gold. Not metallic gold, but off-yellow gold-ish stuff. It looks like dead grass from where your dog did its business. Good intention with poor execution and result. Those numbers might be visible from space.

These are my opinions. I look forward to you sounding off in the comments section.

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Comments (10)

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

August 19, 2015 at 01:33 pm

Nice article. Agree on most. I don't think the new PAT rule really affects player safety very much - but we'll see how much more often coaches go for two.

I like the 4 game preseason. I don't care if the NFL make bundles of money on it. Coaches already can't have enough padded practices so guys don't learn to tackle. These games are as close as we are going to get. Yes, one can predict most of the 53 man roster, though that is less true in GB - but not the PS so much.

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Bill Atkinson's picture

August 19, 2015 at 02:26 pm

You are criticizing the color of the 50 yard line? Really, is it your time of the month?

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Idiot Fan's picture

August 19, 2015 at 02:34 pm

Totally agree on #5. I think having, A.) Fair games, and B.) Cool technology, can only enhance the popularity of the NFL. Very short-sighted, IMO.

Also, one thing I've never understood is why you get to have a 53-man roster, but only 45 can suit up on game-day. You have the PS for developmental, practice-only type players. I know that some players have active-roster bonuses built into their contracts, but that's a result of the setup, not the cause of it. All that it seems to do is make a coach guess which position he might need active players at for a given game. Dumb.

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Bojan Glisic's picture

August 19, 2015 at 08:50 pm

It is for injured players. Example: they don't want situation where team A have 53 available players and team B have only 48.

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Dan Stodola's picture

August 19, 2015 at 09:47 pm

The reason the game day roster is 45 is because back in the day, the entire roster was only that many. They allow the game day inactives and PS but they want to keep the numbers on game day the same as it used to be. Not saying right or wrong or the reasoning, but that is why.

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RCPackerFan's picture

August 19, 2015 at 02:50 pm

'Eight Things the NFL Botched This Off-Season'

Just 8 things? Feels like its a lot more then that.

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Chad Lundberg's picture

August 19, 2015 at 10:35 pm

While I do agree the NFL has double-standards when it comes to player safety, I believe it's only because players keep whining and whining about how the NFL ought to pay for every little inkling of a boo boo. They sued the NFL for 700 million dollars on the concussion issue. If you're the NFL, just what are you supposed to do?

Agree 100% on the camera issue. The NFL is owned and run by old rich but very stubborn men, and here it certainly shows.

So the NFL expanded the time of the NFL draft, WHOOP-DE-DOO! The way I see it, NFL GM's can never have enough time to think through every pick they make.

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ray nichkee's picture

August 19, 2015 at 11:35 pm

Im all for goal line cameras. Goodel makes like 40mil or something to be an ass. Time to pay up. I had goal line seats on the 11th row one time and when the offense got inside the 10 the camera dude in the chair flew in and was blocking my view. I know he was doing his job but it sucked. How can a human get a better shot than a fixed camera?

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WKUPackFan's picture

August 20, 2015 at 07:07 am

The "Deflategate" thing continues to be a huge debacle. The whole thing was ridiculous from the beginning. Anyone following the current status knows how the league botched the original game day "investigation", continually leaked false information, created a bogus "Wells Report" (reviewed by the league's in-house counsel before being released), etc.

Why does it matter to Packers fans? Well, first the Saints, now the Pats. Who knows which team could get railroaded next?

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chugwater's picture

August 20, 2015 at 01:03 pm

Love AR and everything about him - his passion, skill set, talent, intellect. But I disagree with him that the extra point rule changes make the game more dangerous. Only marginally so at best.

Don't see how he can be a fan of the 'up tempo' offense since the whole point is to condense drives and create opportunities for more plays. Is that not creating more risk for players? Doesn't seem consistent to me.

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