Every year the NFL looks for ways to better the game of football by redefining the rules of the game. They just need to stop and try and keep the game the way it's suppose to be. The NFL is like a cartoon caricature of a beautiful women who becomes a hideous hellion because of constant and continued overused plastic surgery. As a knowledgeable observer of football for over 50 years, even I don't know what the rules are anymore.
1) What is a catch?
The more they define it the worse it becomes. It varies from game to game and ref to ref. We now have former heads of referees and Super Bowl referees in broadcast booths and even they can't give a definitive answer to if it is a catch or not.
2) What is a Touchdown?
I always thought if you just TOUCH the goal line with the ball in your control then it is a TD; I guess not. Many TDs get overturned (most in the Patriots favor) when it is obviously a TD. The Pittsburgh TE who caught the ball and took three steps and went into the end zone only to have the ball move as he hit the ground was a TD; wait no it wasn't; no wait yes it was. Same thing with ASJ for the Jets against the Patriots, ah the Patriots, it's a touchdown; oh wait no it's not; who would have thought the Patriots would get the benefit of a call against the Jets?
3) What is an illegal hit on the QB this year?
This one is just insane!!! I guess you have to ask the QB to softly lay down on the ground as you lightly caress him is the only way to sack a QB. The first play of the game against Washington on Thursday was ruled a penalty; Really? Because it looked like a good hit to me. Jenkins had his head to the side (no contact with the helmet) he didn't hit him in the head and the tackle was made just above the waist area, not too low. Now it is a penalty if you fall on the QB. This is an insane rule and should be changed immediately, the point in hitting the QB just as he throws is to give him consternation over the next time he gets hit. If he has no fear of getting hit then football will turn into a game of 7 on 7 and we could see games with scores in the 60's.
I felt bad for Jenkins on Thursday and now he has to figure out how to adjust his play.
On the first play from scrimmage, Jenkins hit Smith and drove him into the ground, drawing a penalty. The rule is a point of emphasis this year for NFL officials. They do not want defenders landing on quarterbacks with all of their weight.
But it creates a tricky situation for the would-be tacklers.
"Quarterbacks are elusive," Jenkins said. "I went to pick him up. I thought I put my arms up at the last second. It's a hard thing because you want to make sure you have the tackle. If the quarterback still has the ball and you go to wrap him up and you think, ‘Oh crap, the rule,' and you let him go and he throws a bomb, you look like an idiot. We've just got to find a way to take the quarterback down that secures the tackle but doesn't get a penalty because those fines are going to add up."
Later in the game Teddy Bridgewater was hit very low (another point of emphasis) and no flag was thrown. If that same hit was made on the golden child Tom Brady then you could bet you house that a penalty would have been thrown.
This is the point of contention, a play is a penalty in one game and not in another.
4) The new lowering the helmet rule:
I understand the need for safety but this rule will become (no pun intended) a headache all year. Most defenders try to tackle a ball carrier low to insure the tackle and lessening bodily injury. To do so you must lower your head down lower than the ball carrier. The problem is the ball carrier wants to maintain proper leverage and stay low so he also lowers the head and then you have a head to head collision. This is not intentional it just happens as part of game play. Players have been tackling this way their whole lives and now you want them to change. This will negatively impact the game. Football players act instinctively because of training and practice. They don't think about what they do theyjust do what comes natural. That is why you practice fundamentals, now the fundamentals have changed.
I am all for making the game safer for the players but football is football and when you continue to change the game it becomes unrecognizable to the fan; he then stops watching. The NFL is already losing fans (TV ratings are down 20% in some markets) and to make the game less discernible seems foolish.
The game we love is changing and the rules changes are a huge part of that change. It used to be the rules committee used to meet every year and do very little. Now they have to make major changes every year; they just can't help themselves. Also rules seem to be subjective to the referee and crew who are calling the game. Numerous times I have seen identical plays with opposite calls. Even the experts who used to be officials and work for the networks disagree with the calls on the field; this should never happen. The rules cannot be this arbitrary.
It seems that ever since the "Tuck rule" game (it still is a BS call) gave the Patriots a chance to start their dynasty the game of football has devolved into a corporate America quagmire of legalities that you need some park avenue lawyer to discern.
Football is a violent brutal game that only a select few people in the world can play at a high level. These are the best of the best and for football to survive it has to to be a violent brutal game. I'm all for rules for increasing player safety but you will never take the injury possibility out of the game because it is so violent. One of (if not the only) most intelligent things that Rex Ryan ever said is that football has an 100% injury factor, in that all people who play NFL football will have some type of lifelong injury; albeit small or debilitating.
Lets not change the game we love; lets keep football, football.
What do you say... am I wrong?