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We may not like the following rules. We may think they ruin the game, slow it down or remove some of the excitement compared to the "good old days," But, like them or not, these rules are here to stay, and it's probably for the best.
Helmet to Helmet Hits
So many rules which are implemented in the name of safety also have the adverse effect of seeming to make the game less interesting.
Following recent scientific and medical evidence about the very real danger of serious, long-term brain damage caused by excessive concussions, the NFL has wisely sought to reduce the risk of concussions. This is absolutely right and necessary. I am in no way calling their intentions dumb.
The problem is, the way the rule is currently implemented is dumb.
The reason is simple. It's far too biased towards the offensive player. Defensive players can go to make what appears to them to be a perfectly legitimate tackle, only for the offensive player to drop his head at the last moment, and, as it becomes a helmet to helmet hit, the defensive player is fined and suspended.
The reason it's really dumb is because it causes defensive players to think twice about making perfectly legitimate hits, and once again makes NFL defence even more lame and handcuffed. Real NFL fans love defense, yet it is increasingly becoming a non-existent part of the game.
Different Rules for Different Times
American football is not an easy sport to learn. The rules are tough enough already, but once you get them, it's a rewarding feeling to know what's coming next and why.
That is, unless it's in the last two minutes...or in a playoff game...or in overtime.
It will never make sense to me why the NFL competition committee can agree on rules which work perfectly 95 percent of the time, but which need to be different every so often, just to keep you on your toes.
Why does it make sense that both teams have a chance to score in overtime in the postseason, but not in the regular season games which decide who makes it to the postseason?
Why do the rules which work for 56 minutes of the game not apply for four?
Don't ask me...I don't know. Sadly, these are rules which have been in place for so long, they are now just accepted as part of the game, and most of us know these rules and just accept them.
But let's be honest, they are dumb rules.
The Instant Replay
This is another rule which isn't in and of itself, bad. None of us would want a team to lose based on a bad call, and the instant replay gives teams a chance to right those wrongs.
The problem is that its implementation is dumb.
First of all, there is no good reason to take challenges out of the coaches' hands in the last two minutes of the half. The last few minutes should be the most exciting, fast paced of the game, yet because of the replay rules, result in far too many stoppages while plays are reviewed.
I don't mind giving the coaches unlimited (successful) challenges during the final two minutes, but it is ridiculous that it has to come from the booth and that every call is likely to be checked. If the coaches' challenge is good enough for the rest of the game, then why not in the last two minutes?
Next, the on-field official going under the hood is dumb. As they have proved this season with the review of every touchdown pass, the vast majority of reviews can be confirmed in seconds.
The booth should begin the process of reviewing every play as soon as the play is over and stop as soon as the next one starts. That way, if the coach throws the challenge flag, the decision should be well on its way to being made and can be fed back to the official on the field almost instantly in most cases. The on-field officials shouldn't need to start again from scratch under the hood when a challenge is made if the replay officials have already confirmed or overturned the call while the debates are going on.
Finally, any call should be challengeable. If a coach can articulate what he wants overturned, he should have the chance to have it overturned. It is ridiculous that a coach can tell an official exactly what he thinks was wrong about the call, and there is no reason for it not to be overturned, but the official tells them it's not a challengeable play. That's dumb.