NFL Changes Part 1: Roger Goodell’s Ideas

     Ah, the rules.  Everyone has their own ideas about which ones are good, and which ones need to be changed.  That’s why in this two part series I am going to talk about proposed rule changes and what new rules could be implemented to benefit the NFL.  In part 1 (what you’re reading now), I’m going to talk about some of the rule changes Roger Goodell has proposed, and at some point in time might be interested in implementing in the league.
     Just to let you know, if you love Roger Goodell, support Roger Goodell, or are Roger Goodell, you might not want to read this.  Why?  Because basically, I think his rules are dumb.  Here’s why.

     1) Expanding regular season to 18 weeks: Here’s a clear case of the NFL just wanting to make some money.  The players are opposed to this, and they have reason to be.  Two more weeks means many more injuries, and in the long term, not much change in overall standings.  Is it really going to make that much of a difference if a team goes 9-7 versus 10-8?  A team like this will be on the bubble either way.  Plus, it adds in more traveling for each team.  There really isn’t a huge issue with the way the season is set up currently.  A few more games might be nice from a fan’s perspective, but the wear and tear on the players is too much.

     2) Expanding playoffs to 14 teams: Again, all I see in this is $$$.  All this would do is make it easier to get into the playoffs, making the league less competitive and more about just being decent, rather than good.  At this point, teams are rewarded for mediocrity.  In the current system, we still have teams making the playoffs with .500 records, or even losing records (see 2011 Seahawks).  We don’t need to change the system.  Plus, three wild cards just seems odd to me.  In addition, I like the fact that two teams get byes in each conference.  Lastly, isn’t the problem we all have with the NBA playoffs how every year a couple teams in the east make the playoffs with a 35-47 record because over half of the teams in the NBA make the playoffs?  The NFL would be in a very similar situation.

     3) Expansion teams in Europe: Seriously?  This one might warrant it’s own article, it’s so bad.  Here are just a few reasons why this wouldn’t work.  Most players are strictly against it and some say they would retire if the NFL had teams in Europe.  The NFL International Series games in London hardly got any coverage in English newspapers.  There was already a league called NFL Europe that ended in 2007, and wasn’t that successful (lost 30 million per season).  It makes no sense for travel if their is only one European team, and adding more is extremely difficult.  Lastly, it could no longer be called the National Football League.  Enough said.

     4) Eliminating Kickoffs: This is where things get a little tricky.  You probably remember me saying that I don’t want to cause unnecessary injuries to players.  Actually, this is the reason Goodell primarily states for getting rid of kickoffs.  However, the average team kicks the ball off around five times per game (that’s about four scores and one to start a half).  Additionally, roughly half of kickoffs are touchbacks.  So, there are about five kickoffs returned in every NFL game.  This takes up about 20-30 seconds of a 60 minute game, and is basically insignificant when it comes to injuries.  However, the role of kickoffs are huge.  Special teams is 1/3 of the game, and kickoffs are a huge part of special teams.  One kickoff return for a touchdown can completely change a game.  Just ask the Broncos when they were thinking about a second half comeback in this past Super Bowl.  Kickoffs help the game much more than they harm it.

     5) Extra Points: There are two potential changes for extra points.  One is eliminating them altogether, and making touchdowns worth seven points.  The other is moving them back so they are equivalent in distance to a 40-yard field goal.  First of all, making them 40-yard field goals is ridiculous, because extra points aren’t supposed to be that difficult.  What’s the point of making one forty-yarder worth three points and one only worth one measly point?  Getting rid of them altogether is the most reasonable suggestion, since 98.5% of the time they go in.  However, even these plays which may seem automatic can make a huge difference.  If you’re team has every been up six points in the closing seconds of a game, and the other team is about to score a touchdown, you want to have a chance to block that kick or have the kicker miss it, which would send the game to OT.  And who could forget John Carney’s 2003 miss that took the Saints out of the playoffs.  Please, watch that and tell me we should get rid of extra points.

     Well, that’s it for part one.  I hope you enjoyed reading my opinions on Roger Goodell’s proposed rule changes.  My personal opinions (part two) should be out within the next few days.  What do you think about these proposed changes?  Do I have it right or am I way off the mark?  All comments and criticisms are welcome.

     Thanks for reading,

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