Thursday, November 15, 2012

Football Rules - A Little Fun; Personal Note

Personal Note First -
It has been nearly two weeks since my last post to this blog. Where have I been?  Dealing with elder care.  My mother-in-law is 98 years old and doing pretty well except she needs 24/7 care.  In the past few weeks we've had problems with caregivers - had to release two.  So we've been interviewing replacements.  In the process we've found a personal care home which was suggested to us as an alternate to our keeping mom in her own home and also an alternate to a nursing home.  We've been doing lots of interviewing and evaluating and considering and money-counting.  And not much blogging.  The care home is really nice with very fine owner and caregivers; we'll be moving mom there around the first of December.  Maybe after that I'll get back to frequent posting.

Football Rules
I've disliked field goals ever since November 8, 1970, when I watched in horror as field goal kicker New Orleans Saints Tom Dempsey beat my Detroit Lions with two seconds left in the game by kicking a 63-yard field goal for a final score of 19-17. I believe 63-yards remains the record now over forty years later.

Which football rules would you change if you were in charge? 

In his autobiographical book Terry Bradshaw suggested some rules changes.  One of Terry Bradshaw's ideas was to increase points for long field goals.  I don't remember the details - maybe award 4 or 5 points for an over-fifty yard field goal. 

Dumb!  And I'm a Terry Bradshaw fan.  But that struck me as a terrible idea. 

A field goal attempt is an admission of failure.  Failure to get ten yards for a first down.  Failure to move the ball into the end zone for six points.  A long field goals is evidence of a bigger failure.  Not only didn't you get the ball into the end zone, you didn't even get it close.  Why would we want to reward failure?  Long field goals should get fewer points than short ones.  Over fifty yards maybe one point.  Over forty, two points.  Over thirty, three.  Closer than thirty, four?  Nah, never more than three points.

If I were making the rules, I'd fiddle with field goals. 

I'd also get rid of the false-start penalty.  I don't know the statistics but it feels as though this penalty is called a dozen times in a typical game.  False "start" isn't quite accurate.  If a lineman moves after being set, it is a penalty.  "Move" means leaning a little tiny bit, shifting his down hand, raising his head.  The rule was instituted because the O-line used to try to draw the defense off sides by appearing to start a play before the snap of the ball.  Okay, if a lineman does a serious move in an obvious intent to fool the defense, maybe a penalty.  But if he just blinks an eye, no penalty.

How about the illegal block in the back on kick-offs and punt-returns?  It seems as though three out of four returns draw this kind of penalty.  A kick receiver runs eighty yards and the play is called back because a blocker touched a defender's back.  There has to be a better way.  Maybe take the penalty from the end of the run, not the point of the foul.  On kicks, you have twenty-two players racing toward each other at top speed, trying to get a bead on the guy with the ball.  A blocker may aim at the front of a defender and miss because the defender turns to expose his back.  That shouldn't be a penalty should it?

Another idea - at the end of the game when one team has the ball and the lead and the other is out of timeouts, why waste time taking a snap and a knee to kill the remaining 80 seconds?  Why not just call it a game and everybody go home?

Couple more silly ideas and then I have to get back to my elder-care duties:  On the opening kickoff, kickers are routinely kicking the ball all the way through the end zone.  A couple years ago the league moved the kickoff line closer to mid-field with the intent of reducing run-backs because those special teams situations invite injuries.  This has inspired  a couple ideas.

One is to have the kickers trying to split the uprights.  If he succeeds, award the kicking team a point.  Effectively kicking a field goal.  And applying my graduated field-goal point system noted above.

The second idea is why kick off at all?  Why not just give the receiving team the ball at the twenty yard line?  That would avoid the injuries and blocks in the back and all the other troubles with kickoff returns. 

Of course it would also eliminate those thrilling 99-yard kickoff returns.

Actually, football rules are pretty good overall.  I probably wouldn't really make changes.  Would you?

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