As I mentioned on Monday, the NFL Competition Committee is convening this week to discuss potential rule changes that could be formally proposed at the next owners meeting.
There are several topics on the docket, but the ones that have garnered the most attention are the idea to expand replay based on the NFC Championship pass interference gaffe and the league’s annoying obsession with limiting celebrations—this time targeting group celebrations by proposing that players that come off the sidelines to celebrate get hit with a flag.
But those are just two issues of varying urgency facing the league. There are so many other ways the league can improve their game. So today’s Question of the Day is:
What rule change would you like to see in the NFL?
My answer: I have a few. First, I want to see kickoffs completely gone. The league has been fudging with the kickoff so much lately that it’s just time to get rid of them. Last year, all but five teams saw at least 50 percent of their kickoffs go for touchbacks, and we’ve seen through three weeks in the AAF the elimination of the kickoff is barely noticeable. It won’t be missed, and if safety is truly the league’s goal, get rid of the most dangerous play the game has to offer.
But the one I have been hammering home and am still pounding the table for is getting rid of the spot foul for pass interference and capping it at 15 yards. Ask any official or former referee and they’ll tell you the hardest call to make live is pass interference. Hand fighting is so incredibly hard to determine at real speed and subtle push-offs or jersey grabs can be easily hidden by the players.
To potentially penalize a team upwards of 40 or 50 yards on such a terribly difficult call is giving officials way too much power over the outcome of the game. This is especially true in the red zone, when a pass interference call in the end zone is essentially giving the team a touchdown, with the offense getting first-and-goal at the 1-yard line.
I know many people are terrified that lowering the impact of pass interference penalties will cause cornerbacks to purposely commit fouls knowing their team can survive an intentional penalty. However, that doesn’t seem to impact the integrity of football at the college level, where penalties remain capped at 15 yards. Additionally, let’s not pretend like 15 yards isn’t still a pretty big deal.
Overall, I think both of these rule changes are well overdue, but I highly doubt the league adopts either this year. They are so averse to change until it’s too late.