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Discussing Potential NFL Rules Changes

Posted by Mike Wobschall on June 1, 2011 – 12:36 pm

Last week NFL owners unanimously passed 3 rules regarding player safety. As we wrote at the time, none of the changes are necessarily drastic in terms of how the game is played, but they are significant changes in that they protect players from harm.

But that got me to thinking: what about some interesting rule changes that would impact the way the game is played? In what’s been a super slow NFL news cycle, this topic will give us something to discuss and even debate.

So I’ll list 3 rule changes that I came up with. They aren’t necessarily things I think the NFL should change; they are just more creative and interesting ideas to promote dialogue here on the blog. Let us know what you think about the ideas in the comments section below this entry. You can also share your own creative ideas in the comments section…

Expand the end zone to be 15 yards deep (instead of 10 yards deep)
Currently NFL fields call for end zones that are 10 yards deep. Changing them to 15 yards deep will impact the game significantly. First, I think it will increase red zone scoring because it will give the offense more field to work with and it gives the defense more ground to cover. As funny as it sounds, it can actually get more difficult to score the further into the red zone you get. But making the end zones deeper will increase scoring.

To somewhat neutralize the advantage the offense gains by making the end zones deeper, I’ll point out that FGs and PATs will become more difficult. The goal posts would still be positioned on the out of bounds line, which will add 5 yards to all FGs and PATs.

Lower the cross bar to 8 feet
For all the kickers out there that didn’t like the first rule change, what about lowering the cross bar to 8 feet (from 10 feet). Obviously lowering the cross bar will make FGs – especially longer FGs – easier and it might entice coaches to try more FGs. But there is a catch: defenders will have a better chance to block long FGs. Let’s say a team is trying a 55-yard FG. The kick will approach the cross bar at a low altitude, which along with just an 8-foot span up to the cross bar will allow a defender to leap and block or even catch a FG attempt.

Allow 1 re-kick for onside kicks that go out of bounds
There’s nothing wrong with adding a little drama, right? Success rate for onside kicks is right around 20% in the NFL and I’d like to increase that figure by a little. Allowing 1 retry on attempts that sail out of bounds would increase the success rate, but it wouldn’t be such a dramatic increase that teams would attempt onsides kicks too frequently. This change could increase the probability of dramatic comebacks at the end of games.

What do you think Vikings fans? Let us know by leaving your comments below…


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