Keep It Competitive

Thinking back to the Super Bowl, one of the things I took away from it was the officiating. It was great. Jim Harbaugh might not agree, he may still be arguing that last call. I found it refreshing. The officials actually let the two teams play. That is all we really want, let the players play. I can only hope the league noticed and let the teams play this upcoming season.

This week the competition committee meets to determine what, if any rule changes would be taken for the 2013-14 season. Now, many of these decisions will be made with an eye towards player safety. I will let people smarter than myself talk about player safety. I would rather focus on making the game better for everyone. I have a couple of suggestions:

Protecting the Quarterback:

Let’s just stop right there. We protect the quarterback way too much. These are football players not china dolls, treat them as such. With stronger, faster, more athletic players like Colin Kaepernick and Cam Newton where do you draw the line between a passer and a runner? I am not suggest allowing defensive players free shots at the quarterback, simply treat them the same as you would a wide receiver or running back.

Kickoff Returns:

Leave them alone, don’t change one single thing. The league has tinkered with the kickoff game in recent years in the name of safety. It seems to have helped. Remember this is a full contact sport, injuries will happen. There are risks in everything we do. Let the players decide if they are willing to accept those risks. Just don’t take away one of the most exciting plays in football.

Pass Interference:

Too often the rulebook benefits the offense far more than the defense. This is never more obvious than in the case of defensive pass interference. In the NFL the penalty for defensive pass interference is as follows: first down and possession of the ball at the spot of the foul. This may not sound too bad on the surface, but seeing it in action demonstrates the problem. A pass interference call on a fifteen-yard out pattern is not too bad. What about a forty-yard post pattern? All a team needs to do is throw up a prayer every now and then. Even if the receiver doesn’t catch the pass there is a decent chance of receiving a pass interference call. Even if you throw an interception it just comes down to a long punt. For once college football has it right. Fifteen yard penalty and a first down. That’s it, that’s all. It affects the game but it is not a game changer. That’s how it should be.

The competition committee will make decisions on how better to officiate the game. The officials are there to keep the peace, not become part of the game. At the end of the day the best they can do is let the players play.

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