10 Rule Changes the NFL Should Implement Immediately

Mike KernsCorrespondent IIIAugust 31, 2011

10 Rule Changes the NFL Should Implement Immediately

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    It seems that every season we are introduced to a new set of changes to some of the rules that have stood in the NFL for dozens and dozens of years. 

    Sometimes, they're for the better, but usually they end up with the majority of fans whining about how Commissioner Goddell and the NFL brass is taking the fun out of the league.

    Meanwhile, there are rules that should be implemented that never seem to be. With this thought in mind, I tried to come up with 10 rules that either need to be changed or put back to the way they were. However, just because I'm tired of talking about it a decade later, the dead horse that is the tuck rule will not be making an appearance.

Touchdown Review Rule

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    The replay official in the booth is mandated to confirm every score, whether it's a field goal or a touchdown. 

    One thing that the NFL always has had over college football is the fact that their games don't usually take three and a half to four hours to complete. However, this season a new rule has been put in place that every single touchdown or two-point conversion will be reviewed. 

    In some cases, it's great. We don't want another Mike Renfro "no-catch catch" event. But for every touchdown? That just seems like a touch of overkill.

The 4th Timeout for an Injured Player

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    If a player is injured while the clock is running and his team has used all three of its timeouts for the half, the team is awarded a fourth timeout without penalty to allow the injured player to be removed from the field.

    Now, before you start going off on me about being insensitive to an injured player, hear me out.

    How many times in a two-minute drill in a game coming down to the wire do we see a reserve player come out and get "injured" to get that extra timeout? It's like clockwork, every game. In this case, the fakers have ruined it for everybody.

Protection of the Passer

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    No defensive player may run into a passer of a legal forward pass after the ball has left his hand. The Referee must determine whether opponent had a reasonable chance to stop his momentum during an attempt to block the pass or tackle the passer while he still had the ball.

    Hey, listen, I'm all about keeping our star quarterbacks on the field for a full season. No one wants to endure another season of the Doug Johnson led Atlanta Falcons. But things have gotten to the point where if your thumb grazes a QB's helmet as he throws the ball, you get hit with a roughing the passer penalty. And if you're Ndamukong Suh, you get fined.

    The refs need to either learn to use greater discretion or this rule needs to be tweaked just a bit.

The "Non-Catch" Touchdown Rule

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    If a player goes to the ground in the act of catching a pass (with or without contact by an opponent), he must maintain control of the ball after he touches the ground, whether in the field of play or the end zone. If he loses control of the ball, and the ball touches the ground before he regains control, the pass is incomplete. If he regains control prior to the ball touching the ground, the pass is complete.

    I admit to having never even heard of this one until last year. Ask Detroit Lions fans how they feel about this obscure rule that made it to the limelight opening weekend of the 2010 season. This one is just ridiculous and needs to be fixed immediately.

Excessive Celebration

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    Individual players are prohibited from using props, foreign objects or the football while celebrating. They are also prohibited from engaging in any celebrations while on the ground. Doing so results in a 15 yard penalty on the ensuing kickoff.

    I agree that when Joe Horn got out the cell phone, this thing had gotten a bit drastic. But, honestly, what did it hurt? It was hilarious seeing Steve Smith make snow angels and Chad Johnson proposing to a cheerleader or using the pylon like a golf club.

    If a guy runs 75 yards after breaking three tackles and twisting and earning a deep bone bruise on the way, come on...let the guy dance. 

Hitting a Defenseless Receiver

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    If a receiver has completed a catch and has not had time to protect himself, a defensive player is prohibited from launching (springing forward and upward) into him in a way that causes the defensive player’s helmet, facemask, shoulder or forearm to forcibly strike the receiver’s head or neck area.

    This is one that sounds like a good idea in print. Again, player safety should be taken very seriously and given serious attention. But this is another one that needs to be handled better by the officials.

    We can't ask these defensive backs to stand idly by, watch the receiver make the catch, then wrap them up and make the tackle. I'm completely against head-hunting, but sometimes in a bang-bang play, a guy is going to make contact with one of the no-no places.

    This one needs to be handled better by the boys in stripes.

Kickoffs Moved to the 35-Yard Line

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    In an effort to limit injuries, all kickoffs are moved up five yards to the 35-yard line and restrict the running start that coverage units get to five yards behind the ball.

    This one is the talk of the preseason and rightly so. Honestly, you've just taken away one of the most exciting possibilities that the game has.

    If they were going to make a rule this stupid, why even have kickoffs anymore? Just spot the ball at the 20 at the beginning of every possession.

    I think this one gets changed at the beginning of next season at the latest. 

Postseason Overtime Rules

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    After the end of the regulation game, play will be continued in 15-minute periods until a winner is declared. Each team must possess or have the opportunity to possess the ball unless the team that has the ball first scores a touchdown on its initial possession. Play continues in sudden death until a winner is determined, and the game automatically ends upon any score by safety, field goal or touchdown.

    For years fans have clamored to have a change to the NFL's sudden-death overtime rules. Most didn't like that you could lose in overtime without even having the opportunity to have your offense ever take the field and that is a legit argument. I'm on the side that both teams should get the ball, but the owners botched this one.

    First of all, why only the postseason? Enforce the rule all season. Next, give both teams the ball, regardless of whether or not the first one scores a touchdown.

    Truthfully, I doubt this one ever comes to a conclusion that pleases everyone.

Roughing the Kicker

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    The penalty for running into the kicker is five yards. For roughing the kicker: 15 yards, an automatic first down and disqualification if flagrant.

    And many people wonder why some don't consider kickers "real" football players. Much like all other unnecessary roughness rules, I understand why they're in place and player protection is nothing to be taken lightly. But when a player mistakenly falls and places a finger on the toe of a kicker and he flies backwards like he just got hit with a shotgun blast, it's a bit ridiculous.

    Again, this one needs better discretion from the officials.

Pass Interference

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    There shall be no interference with a forward pass thrown from behind the line. The restriction for the passing team starts with the snap. The restriction on the defensive team starts when the ball leaves the passer’s hand. Both restrictions end when the ball is touched by anyone.The penalty for defensive pass interference is an automatic first down at the spot of the foul. If interference is in the end zone, it is first down for the offense on the defense’s 1-yard line. If previous spot was inside the defense’s 1-yard line, penalty is half the distance to the goal line.

    Give me a break. If this one doesn't seem like a pee wee football league rule, I don't know what is. Pass interference, which is controversial quite often, should be a 10 or 15 yard penalty in most cases.

    Now, if a guy just flat out tackles a guy without even looking for the ball, then it should be placed at the spot of the foul. But how many big games have been decided on a questionable pass interference call that was essentially a 65+ yard penalty?

    Unfortunately, I don't see this one ever being adjusted.