Hey NFL, If It Ain't Broken, Don't Fix It.

Josh McCainSenior Writer IJanuary 4, 2010

NORTHBROOK, IL - AUGUST 08:  (L-R) Dan Rooney, owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers, new commissioner Roger Goodell, outgoing NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue and Jerry Richardson, owner of the Carolina Panthers, pose following a press conference announcing the selection of Goodell to be the new NFL commissioner during the NFL owners meeting on August 8, 2006 at the Renaissance Hotel in Northbrook, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

For those of you lucky enough to have watched the the Pittsburgh Steelers at the Miami Dolphins, which was a fantastic game, you were also given a treat at the start of the second half.

The National Football League's Commissioner Rodger Goodell joined Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf in the CBS booth for a little chat.

They talked about the new scheduling for the Pro-Bowl, which I'm split on because it's the week before the Super Bowl and I don't see why any player on a Super Bowl team would play in the game or play that long.  However, having the game the week before in the city hosting the Super Bowl will probably boost attendance.

I'm sure the postseason, as well as the Super Bowl and Pro-Bowl, is what the Commish probably wanted to talk about, but not Greg. The ever vigilant reporter wanted to talk about what everyone was talking about, and that was the Colts resting their starters the previous week.

Goodell, to his credit, did his best to answer the question, but did it in a way to not offend anyone.

To paraphrase, he offered the idea of draft picks to teams who compete all the way through as an idea the NFL Competition Committee was kicking around, but felt no matter what was agreed upon you couldn't punish a team for resting starters.

I've got a couple of issues with this. First off, you're darn right you can't punish a team for this, they are doing their best to be competitive for the postseason by not risking star players in meaningless games. To me that's like the league demanding teams play starters throughout the preseason. 

Also, resting starters is another way for a coach to get a good look at his back-up players. Let's face it, a back-up quarterback could look great in the preseason because he's facing other back-ups, but put him up against starters and you could see a different guy. 

Case in point is Painter for the Colts. If I were an Indy fan I'd be scared out of my mind if Peyton went down.

Another reason for resting starters in a meaningless game is the case of Wes Welker.  He is Brady's number one guy, his safety blanket if you will. When back to pass and it seems like there is nothing there, well somehow, someway, Welker makes the catch.

In a game that meant nothing to the Patriots, he blows out his knee and is done for the season. Does this spell doom for the Pats? Probably not, but in that first game I bet it takes Brady a few series to get his rhythm going without his favorite target.

Now it's time to tackle the issue of draft picks for teams that stay competitive for the whole season. I have absolutely no idea how this would work. The Commish didn't go into detail, but does he mean higher draft picks or more draft picks?

Also, who decides what constitutes a team being competitive? Does this only apply to play-off bound teams?

As far as competition is concerned, how do you say if a team is trying to be competitive? Is it the starters playing the whole game for the last couple of weeks even when they've sewn up everything?

For example, let's say that next year the Colts (a mostly passing team) are 14-0 and they play the Browns (Sorry Browns fans) in week 16. Also, lets say the Browns have the worst team in the league. So in order to protect Manning from injury the Colts don't throw a single pass, except for maybe a quick screen or two, and they end up losing.

One could say the Colts didn't play competitively because they just ran the ball, but then you could argue that they did because they were up against the worst run defense in the league.

There are countless more examples one could bring up, but saying whether or not a team is competitive is subjective.

Another example, one might say, is the Redskins this season, despite having a 4-12 record, were competitive. As a fan who watched every game this season, I would say with the exception of the games against Oakland and Denver, I saw a bunch of men go through the motions. They didn't really care about the game itself and were just collecting paychecks.

Now the draft picks I find to be quite sticky. After all, the point of the worst team getting the number one pick and the Super Bowl Champion getting the 32nd pick is to keep the league competitive and help the bad teams improve.

Now if a team like the Colts or Saints (favored to get to Miami) are awarded draft picks or higher picks then say 31 or 32 (assuming they both got to the Super Bowl) teams, doesn't that defeat the purpose of the draft helping the sorrier teams become competitive?

We return to the point of who actually decides if a team played competitively. If a 15-0 team were to lose to an 0-15 team, based on just the winner and loser, doesn't mean that the 15-0 team didn't try, it could mean it was finally the 0-15 team's day.

So to Mr. Goodell and the NFL's Competition Committee, please oh please don't make any new rules. The NFL is probably as close to perfection as any sports league can get.  Don't mess it up with unnecessary rules.


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