12 Rules Changes the NFL Should Implement

Some are "duh" obvious, some would be controversial, and some are somewhere in between.

But in an any event, here they are:

1. If defensive holding, illegal contact etc. occur on a first-down play, why not have the next play be 1st-and-5 instead of 1st-and-10 — as it would be if the penalty was for offsides? This is done in college football.

2. Change the penalty for an illegal chop block, offensive face mask penalty etc. from 15 yards to 10 yards and a loss of down, making it the same as for intentional grounding, which unlike the above infractions does not put an opponent at risk of injury.

3. Change the penalty for offensive pass interference from 10 yards to 5 yards and a loss of down (prior to 2013, this was in fact the rule in college football).

4. If taunting beyond the now-legal choreographed celebration occurs following a touchdown, give the defense the option of enforcing the 15-yard penalty on the conversion attempt or on the ensuing kickoff.

5. In no case can the penalty for defensive pass interference exceed half the distance to the goal. Example: Team A has the ball at their own 40-yard line. Team A attempts a deep pass. Team B is called for pass interference. Spot the ball on Team B's 30-yard line (with of course an automatic first down) — and to prevent the defense from "exchanging" a penalty for the time run off the clock late in the half or game, the clock is reset to where it was before the previous snap and not re-started until the next snap, even if the clock had been running before the previous snap. The rules should not automatically assume that the receiver would have caught the ball if not for the interference, which is what placing the ball at the spot of the foul amounts to. After all, we all know what they said on "The Odd Couple" about people who assume.

6. If defensive pass interference is called but the receiver caught the ball anyway, an additional 10-yard penalty is tacked onto the reception. If the catch was for a touchdown, the offense has the option of accepting half the distance to the goal should they decide to go for two, or 10 yards on the ensuing kickoff.

7. Similarly, if the defense commits a personal foul; e.g., roughing the passer, on a play on which a touchdown is scored, the offense has the option of accepting half the distance to the goal should they decide to go for two, or 15 yards on the ensuing kickoff.

8. During the last two minutes of both halves and overtime periods, the time remaining is to be expressed in tenths of a second, as it is in basketball. The tenths-of-a-second count shall commence at the two-minute mark, even if the actual two-minute warning does not occur until later due to a play in progress.

9. Change the timing rules of overtime to the same as that which prevail in regulation; that is, the clock continues to run if a runner or receiver goes out of bounds, except in the last two minutes.

10. Change the 10-second run-off rule so that in no case can a team win a game because of a run-off. If there are less than 20 seconds remaining in either half when a situation calling for a run-off arises, the runoff will consist of half the time remaining, the amount of the run-off being rounded down to the lesser tenth of a second (see #8 above) if the time remaining had an odd number following the decimal point; e.g., 9.5 would be run down to 4.8.

11. Eliminate the "Fumbleooski Rule," which was adopted in 1979 in a blatant overreaction to an incident that occurred in a game involving the Raiders at San Diego on September 10, 1978. Trailing 20-14 late in the game, Oakland quarterback Ken Stabler deliberately fumbled the ball forward, and tight end Dave Casper recovered it in the end zone for the game-winning touchdown. This should remain illegal — but making it a touchback is like William Tell shooting the apple off his son's head with a cannon. Simply declare that in no case can a fumble be advanced, and the ball is placed at the spot of the fumble, including if the ball goes into the end zone, unless it is recovered by a member of the opposing team, in which case the opposing team takes possession. Problem solved.

12. The plane of the goal line shall consist of a line of infinitesimal thickness from the edge of the white line facing the field of play at the entrance to the end zone, and extending infinitely upward. If the ball crosses that line in the legal possession of a runner or eligible receiver, it is a touchdown, regardless of anything that happens afterward, and regardless of how high off the ground the ball was at the moment of said crossing.

This ought to keep the Competition Committee busy for a while.

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