In March, the NFL will hold an owner's meeting to talk about a bevy of wide-ranging topics. It will cover everything from stadium upgrades to on-field issues, most notably rule changes, as laid out by Green Bay Packers president Mark Murphy.
While most of the meetings go on without much fanfare, the discussion of potential changes to rules always draws interest. This year, eight such rules are going to be discussed, according to Murphy's post on the Packers' website.
Let's go over each, ranking them best to worst.
1. Taking chop blocks, peel-back blocks, roll blocks and downfield cut blocks out of the game
SB Nation NFL
SB Nation NFL
This has been long overdue. For years, the NFL has been making sure offensive players are safe and sound without worrying about the other side of the ball. Few things are more dangerous than an offensive lineman diving at the knees of a defensive lineman or a linebacker. It's time to change the thought process here.
This will also protect the heads of defensive players who are fixated on the ball-carrier. Under current rules, a offensive player can peel off his block and side-swipe a would-be tackler.
2. The "hands to the face" call, which would expand to include quick shots to the head for players on either side of the ball. This would eliminate strikes to the helmet as a tactic.
In this day and age, anything to protect a guy from getting a concussion has to be considered. There are plenty of people who scream about the softening of the game. Those people don't play in the NFL and should stop complaining. Let these guys enjoy their retirements.
This call would effectively keep players from going upside a player's helmet with their hands. While the head-slap has long been illegal, this would keep players from "punching" into the face mask. The rule is intended for receivers and corners, along with linemen.
3. Instant replay going to the college system or the NHL way
Look, replay is a great thing and works pretty well now, but could be better. The NHL has all their decisions made from Toronto, providing great consistency. In college, the replay official upstairs makes the call. Personally, I love the NHL way, very few calls are missed.
4. Playoff expansion, which would put another team from each conference into the postseason. Only the No. 1 seeds would get a bye. The other 12 teams would play on Wild-Card weekend.
Everybody says it would cheapen the product. That's garbage. Would anybody have complained if a 10-6 Arizona Cardinals team was in the playoffs last year? How about if the Pittsburgh Steelers and Ben Roethlisberger made it? Why not reward the team with the best record in the conference as the only team with a bye? Plus, it's more football. Frankly, you're un-American if you don't want more football.
5. Taunting and fighting penalties being enforced to maintain respect among players
Again, some will scream about this. Again, put a lid on it. These are grown men who can handle themselves, but who are also a role model to kids. They need to put their big-boy pants on and refrain from being obnoxious idiots to each other. Can't go wrong here.
There is no place in the game for some clown sacking the quarterback up or down by 30 points and then getting in the face of the opponent over it.
6. Eliminating the point-after attempt
This is where I starting going the other way. Why does this need to be taken out of the game? It has been part of football forever. Do people really complain about having to sit through the extra point? Sometimes things are over-analyzed and this is one of them. If it's not broken ...
There has been talk about changing this rule throughout the offseason with myriad ideas. The best one has been to make a touchdown seven points and if you want to go for eight, it's the same as a two-point conversion is now. Only catch? If you miss, you lose a point.
7. Low hits on defenseless players, especially receivers
Now, I will call this soft. I understand you want to protect knees and that is admirable, but you can't protect high and low. The defenders have to be able to target somewhere on the body, and when a 250-pound target is moving at 4.4 speed, it's ridiculous to ask them to only hit from the shoulders to the belt. Sometimes a smaller player has to cut a guy down. The NFL needs to make sure defense still matters and gives these guys a somewhat fair shake.
8. Protecting read-option quarterbacks in the pocket
Quarterbacks are already treated like they are made out of glass. If a quarterback wants to run the option, that's fine. However, a defender should be able to pop him like a paper bag if he does so. Again, this speaks to fairness. Stop protecting all the quarterbacks constantly. If they are threatening to be a runner, cream them.
Currently, a quarterback can be hit if he is in the process of the read-option within the pocket. Please, leave the rule alone.