Top 10 Suggested NFL Rules Changes
When the day finally comes (finally) where I’m decreed king of the world, following are the Top 10 rule changes I plan to institute across the NFL. For now the CFL remains exempt, but I’ll eventually work my way there, too. Never mind defining what is or isn’t a catch, or the yardage of a PAT, I’m talking real, substantial changes:
- The XFL experimented with a no fair catch rule. Let’s take it a step farther. Gunners on punts and kickoffs will be allowed to dropkick the return man.
- Microsoft tablets on the sideline are a nice touch these days, especially when we can watch Aaron Rodgers throw his down in disgust, so let’s continue the NFL’s partnership with technologists. First, all balls will have delicate, internal sensors. The instant they cross the goal line (itself a vertical electronic field), the sensor is triggered. A secondary sensor will be placed in each player’s kneepads; should they touch the ground first, the goal line sensor does not activate.
- These sensors are also activated when balls are kicked through the uprights for field goals and PATs. However, special kicking balls will also contain a small pyrotechnic charge; when a kick is good, they’ll detonate into a small burst-radius firework.
- Teams will have the option to reserve one non-human on their rosters. I’ve seen Air Bud; that dog would make an excellent receiver if trainer properly. Even better, a team that fields an orca whale as an interior lineman would dominate the line of scrimmage.
- Continuing with technology, no refs will cover the game live. They’ll all watch remotely, with players rendered as neutral silhouettes and all crowd noise removed; this way, the refs will have very little knowledge of the specific teams or individual players they’re watching in order to reduce any bias.
- In terms of player safety, new gear will include articulated padding that covers the entirety of the lower legs; the padding will be light enough not to impact running speed, but will lock in place to prevent all knee and ankle injuries.
- Also in terms of added excitement—when a team is down by 20 or more points with 5 minutes remaining, they’re allowed the use of two balls at once. Both of these balls are live, and each play isn’t over until they’re both defended. This includes on field goals, PATs, and on-side kicks.
- Forget about throwback jerseys. For real variety, once a year two games will be played simultaneously across two fields set perpendicularly across one another. Yes it will be a challenge to referee when the games approach each other midfield, but the ratings will be worth it. Think Blood Bowl/Demolition Derby.
- No more “Suck for Luck”-style tanking at the end of a bad year in order to draft the #1 selection. Instead, that bye week before the Super Bowl will be played by the bottom two teams in the league; the winner of that game wins the #1 selection. If memory serves, this may be a Gregg Easterbrook option that I heartily endorse.
- Also, no more Super Bowl halftime concerts. Move those to the end of the game when it feels more like a celebration is needed and logically extends the viewing experience. Instead, halftimes will be comprised of the 20-minute Pee-Wee League football championship game, played across the width of the field and using a running clock. Imagine the thrill these kids would have in front of 80,000 fans cheering enthusiastically on every play.
You know what—forget the rest of the list, let’s just go with the last item, and we’ll call it a wildly effective NFL competition committee meeting.