While much of the discussion at the NFL owners meetings has revolved around the decision to disallow the "slam dunk over the crossbar" celebration, another rule change affecting the goal posts was enacted, as the NFL agreed to raise the height of the posts by five feet.
Mike Reiss of ESPN shares the news:
Bill Belichick's Patriots proposal to extend the uprights 5 feet on both sides has passed.— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) March 26, 2014
It's certainly a logical rule, as there really is no reason why there should be any question as to whether a field-goal attempt is good or not. Of course, down the line the league might consider implementing a sensor technology to make the determination—similar to the goal-line technology now being adapted in European soccer leagues—but for now five extra feet on the goal posts will have to do.
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick indeed was the main proponent for this rule change, and it was one of the changes he suggested that actually passed, as Ben Volin of The Boston Globe points out:
Only 1 of Belichick’s 4 rules proposals passed, but he still accomplished his goals http://t.co/jlsYAWtJRO— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) March 27, 2014
Now the Patriots have another rule named for them, as Field Yates of ESPN notes:
First the tuck rule… Now the "Tucker Rule?" The Patriots are forever linked to both. http://t.co/0ikFSEK5gH— Field Yates (@FieldYates) March 27, 2014
Yates has more on the inspiration for Belichick proposing the rule change:
That's because it was during the 2012 season that the Ravens defeated the Patriots on the strength of a chip-shot field goal from kicker Justin Tucker that sailed just over the goal post on the right side.
Had the goal post been five feet higher, the kick would have hit it, at which point it would be a matter of fortune as to whether it went in or bounced elsewhere.
The refs ruled the kick to be good, propelling Baltimore to victory and causing a stern reaction from nose tackle Vince Wilfork on the field and Bill Belichick to track down the refs for a postgame explanation. He was fined $50,000 for making contact with the ref in an effort to get his attention.
Of course, Justin Tucker sees things a bit differently:
FWIW the only guys who know exactly where that GWFG went vs NE are Sam Koch and myself. Not my best kick but still inside by about a foot.— Justin Tucker (@jtuck9) March 26, 2014
At the same time, pretty sweet that some football fans are calling this the 'Tucker Rule' haha! #honored— Justin Tucker (@jtuck9) March 26, 2014
One thing is for certain: You'll find few folks who actually think this is a bad idea. Maybe there is somebody out there completely in fear of change that hates this decision by the NFL, but in general, Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com pretty much summed up the majority reaction to the ruling in one tweet:
VICTORY! RT @AlbertBreer: Extended goal post proposal approved.— gregg rosenthal (@greggrosenthal) March 26, 2014
But we aren't done talking about the goal-post dunking ruling, either, mostly because the decision to outlaw it likely stems from Jimmy Graham causing a game delay after tilting the goal posts with one of his dunks.
With the goal posts now being even taller, further dunks could likely throw off the alignment, as Volin notes:
FYI, the NFL also banned the goal post dunk because the goal posts are likely to be heightened this season -- heavier and tougher to balance— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) March 26, 2014
Goal posts surely will be the subject of further debates, especially as the NFL plays around with the idea of altering extra points by lengthening the distance of that particular play. The extra point has become such a gimme point that the league will surely look to ramp up the difficulty of earning that point or encourage teams to go for a two-point conversion more often.
The NFL is always evolving, and that even includes one of the iconic symbols of the game—the goal posts. At least most can generally agree that raising the height by five feet is a logical decision.