We all know what it’s like to sit down on a Sunday afternoon, watch a play unfold, scream at the screen, and think to yourself: “Man, they need to change the rules to this game.” Well worry no more, as your prayers have been answered. Here we’ll analyze some of the new rule changes that will undoubtedly make this a more entertaining and fair sport to watch.
Lengthening of the Extra Point
If there’s one play we know we can miss in a football game, it’s the extra point. A field goal less than 20 yards that’s only worth one point doesn’t make for as much excitement as one would hope. Which is exactly why the NFL will be experimenting with moving the extra point out to the 20 yard line during the first two pre-season games. With extra points becoming automatic, this scoring play is basically just a lengthy addition to a touchdown that a random fan from the stands would be able to make. According to nfl.com, kickers converted extra points at a rate of 99.6%. Why would anyone watch a play you can basically guarantee will happen? By making it a near 40 yard field goal, the value and respect of a kicker skyrockets with the increased difficulty of the kick. Earlier, the NFL was contemplating getting rid of the extra point altogether and simply making a touchdown worth 7 points. However, if this pans out, kickers will be more valuable than ever, along with the extra point.
Goal Post Extension
It doesn’t happen often, but referees will rarely make the incorrect call on a field goal attempt. If a ball sails over one of the posts, but is too high and too close to one side, it will most likely be called a miss. Here is an example, where we see a field goal very close to one of the posts. The referees called it good, but in the replay we see that it was actually wide right. Hm, if only the goal posts were taller so we could clearly see if a kicker makes a field goal in real-time. Enter the new Goal Post Rule. With this new addition, however, the goal posts will be raised by 5 feet. While this will most likely not have a huge impact on the sport, the potential trouble it might save is tremendous. The NFL doesn’t need any more criticism of its referees, and this will only help them make the right call. No team (or fan) wants to be the victim of a call that cost them the game, and so this is a small step in improving the rules and ensuring better officiating.
NaVorro Bowman Rule
During the 2014 NFC Championship game, NaVorro Bowman, a San Francisco 49er linebacker, stripped Seahawks wide receiver Jermaine Kearse of the ball near the end zone. He appeared to take possession of the loose ball. However, the officials ruled the ball to be in possession of the Seahawks. This video gives a great angle on the play. Here you can see NaVorro Bowman strip the ball away and go down with the ball in his possession. However, he suffered a knee injury during the play, which most likely caused him to let go of the ball after he was down. Because the officials ruled that the Seahawks had recovered their own fumble, they were unable to take another look at the play. As a result, the 49ers were denied possession of the ball that they had earned. Now, team owners approved a change that will allow the referees to review the recovery of a loose ball, regardless of who fumbled it. This is the kind of rule that NFL fans have been begging for for some time now. Similar to a play in the endzone, if a play is ruled as a score, it can be reviewed. If it isn’t, no matter how close it may seem, the play is dead and cannot be looked at further. Perhaps this may be a rule change we will see in the near future.
Continuation of Game Clock Outside of Two Minute Warning After a Sack
From now on, sacks will be treated as normal tackles when referring to the clock. No longer will the clock stop after a sack outside of the two minute warning. A very basic rule change that won’t impact the game too much, but will still create a faster paced game.
Tabled Rule Changes We Would Like To See Happen
More Cameras For Instant Replays
“If only there were a better angle to see if he got in the end zone or not.” Will hopefully be words you will never have to utter again. A rule change to add more cameras for instant replays has been tabled. It’s very difficult to disagree with the fact that sometimes, you just can’t tell.
Challenges Applicable To Penalties
If you told me that you’ve never ONCE gotten upset over a yellow flag, we both know you’d be lying. With this rule change proposed, we will hopefully see better officiating throughout the game and especially during crucial minutes in tight games.
Kickoffs Moved To The 40 Yard Line
This was proposed by Washington, but shot down by the other owners. A movement to the 40 yd line would undoubtedly result in more touchbacks. If you believe kickoffs are a tradition and one of the most exciting plays in football, you would never want to see this happen. However, if you’re one of the growing population of those who are against the increased concussions brought on as a result of kickoffs, you would be a strong advocate of this rule change. But it has already been shot down. Look for a more enjoyable NFL season with these new rule changes and proposals. But don’t expect to never get angry with a call. It’s in the spirit of the game, but we’d all love to see some fairness every now and then.