More NFL Rule Changes

A few significant changes in the lot:

http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=5024325

I have for a long time had the thought myself of scheduling only division games the final week of the season.  I have thought it would be a fair thing to do (no one faces a real long road trip that last game) and would ensure just by sheer math that fewer division races are locked up early.  The NFL is looking at the latter part of that in a way as a way to have fewer incidents like last season’s Colts/Jets game.

I am less keen on the expansion of “defenseless player rules”.  I understand the laudable desire to protect players from head injury, but I also don’t like the slide towards two hand touch football.  But players should never be leading with the head.  Technically, spearing has long since been illegal.  As for stopping plays if the ball carrier loses his helmet I can just hear the outcry the first time a potential TD is halted b/c a player emerges from a scrum still upright but with no helmet.  How much yardage would Dallas have lost in that one game with Philadelphia a couple years ago when Whitten lost his helmet?

It will certainly take some getting used to the umpire being behind the line of scrimmage.  Will be interesting to see if there are fewer (or more) interior line fouls called after this change.  The 10 second run off rule on replays could be interesting.  I hope its phrased in a more nuanced fashion than the blurb in the article.  Will the clock be reset when the result of the reviews deems that the play would have resulted in a running clock but the original call resulted in a dead clock?  That to me is as important as a runoff when the clock was running and the result of the review is still that the clock should run from an integrity of the game standpoint.  Either way it could prove huge in a game sometime.

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