End Zones to become Thunder Domes.
The NFL to their credit has adapted and redefined rules to keep up with the pace of the modern game, protection of players, and technological advances. But the "Process Rule" that took a touchdown and a likely victory away from Calvin Johnson and the Lions on Sunday seems not well thought out.From now on the NFL should rename the end zones "Twilight Zones" because rules of football do not apply...and for 2010 these Twilight Zones will become Thunder Domes (no holds barred) for poor receivers.
Certainly one unintended consequence of the new process" rule will be when a receiver lands on the ground after being tackled but is still in the "process" of moving..expect defenders to pile on him and try to rip the ball away. As long as a receiver is still moving he will be fair game. Defensive players will have nothing to lose other than a 15 yard penalty for eye gouging, punching, biting, or whatever Jujitsu move they will learn to separate man from ball in the process of making a catch.
With anarchy in play, only the total lack of movement from the mugged receiver will give referees confidence the "process" is over and a touchdown or a funeral can be called. But if the defense continues to wrestle with the receiver there is no telling how long the "process" of the catch could last. This is going to get interesting.
This post catch and tackle-fight for the ball in the end zone action will create a reaction from the offenses too. Offensive players will have to rush to the end zone to try to somehow protect the receiver from the defenders until the process of the catch is over. And judging from Sunday's Lions Bears game, that process is not over even as the receiver is using the ball to help him stand up. This is after two feet were down and after being tackled. So when is the process over?
One thing week 1 of the NFL has taught us...we are in for a lot more action in the end zones. There will be much more protection of the ball by receivers. No more flipping the ball to a ball boy or throwing a ball into the stands to a fan, and Lambeau leapers better make sure they come out of the stands with the ball because all these things were a part of the process of scoring a touchdown in the NFL. No more...now it's tuck down tight hold on to the ball, call out for your mother, and wait for the mugging to begin ...but for how long? Like Calvin Johnson and the poor Lions..we don't know yet.