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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…


Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 71 Comments »


71 Responses to “Discussing Potential NFL Rules Changes”

  1. By David Siegfried on Jun 1, 2011 | Reply

    Just plain dumb. Let’s try to make it more of a pass happy offensive based league (sarcasm). Where are you from, St. Lious? I want more brute force and less antics.

  2. By Shawn on Jun 1, 2011 | Reply

    Just because there is a rules commitee doesnt mean they need to change rules every year its gotten ridiculous …. I LIKE DEFENSE !!!!

    Even though I hate the Bears and the Ravens those defenses did something special … and they were exciting to watch play teams other than the Vikings

    the NFL, which if the greed wasnt involved right now , has shown to be the greatest sports league in the country … WHY DO THEY PUNISH THE DEFENSE EVERY YEAR ????????????????

    WHY ???????????

    WHY PUNISH DEFENSIVE PLAYERS FOR DOING A GREAT JOB ???????????

    WHY ???????????

  3. By Shawn on Jun 1, 2011 | Reply

    Specifically the 85 bears and i think it was the 00 ravens … for those that didnt understand the 2 great defenses i was referring 2

  4. By Mike Wobschall on Jun 1, 2011 | Reply

    Thanks for the comments David and Shawn. But I’m looking for some fun ideas from readers. What cool rules changes can you think of? What do you think of the 3 changes I proposed?

  5. By Carl K on Jun 1, 2011 | Reply

    Mike, I like the “allow 1 re-kick” idea for onside kicks. The other 2 ideas impact the game too much. You get a gold star for being creative.

    I think the game is almost perfect… but one change I would make is to let the QB throw the ball away any time he needs to. Get rid of the intentional grounding rule. If you want to protect the QB, give him that right to chuck it in the dirt to protect himself.

  6. By Carl K on Jun 1, 2011 | Reply

    Just to get everyone excited… Mark Herzlich is working out at the IMG facilities in Bradenton Florida according to Michael David Smith.

  7. By Carl K on Jun 1, 2011 | Reply

    I think Ponder gave him a purple jersey.

  8. By Neil on Jun 1, 2011 | Reply

    “Expand the end zone to be 15 yards deep (instead of 10 yards wide).”

    Whoever had the idea of making the end zone 10 yards wide, I like that one. Let’s do that instead of 15 yards deep. It’ll be really tough to score with such a narrow gap! The defense could pretty much close it off by standing shoulder to shoulder.

  9. By Mike Wobschall on Jun 1, 2011 | Reply

    Good catch Neil. I made the change from “wide” to “deep.”

  10. By Frederick Jones on Jun 1, 2011 | Reply

    I think the 15 yard end zone would be okay. But wouldn’t it make the FGs only 5 yards longer (not 10 as you suggest)???

    The other 2 rules seem silly to me. Why 8 feet high goal posts? Why not 6 feet, or 2 feet, or banish the posts altogether? What would be the purpose, to promote more FGs?

    The Vikings who are a running team, may not want the 15 yard end zones.
    I agree with Carl K., Why change the game? The NFL had a great year last year. The CBA battle is just stupid. It’s hard to believe there are that many stupid people on the planet ! ! !

  11. By All Day Oklahoma on Jun 1, 2011 | Reply

    Personally, I do not like the idea of making the end zone 15 yards deep instead of 10 yards deep. I played linebacker for my highschool team last year and was in on a few goal line stops. As a defensive player there are few moments more thrilling than stoping the offense in a critical situation. If the end zones were deepened the offense could score more easily as previously mentioned, and thus, the thrill would be taken away from the defense. As a whole I think that the NFL is trying to tilt the game too much in favor of the offense. I like defense! After all, DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS!

  12. By NovaScotiaVike on Jun 1, 2011 | Reply

    How about this for a rule change…..Every year that there is a threatened work stoppage or lock-out, the owners and players are all air-lifted to some remote, desolate island, on which the only other living things were rats, and would not be rescued until an agreement had been reached?

  13. By NovaScotiaVike on Jun 1, 2011 | Reply

    And NO LAWYERS, the rats would quickly befriend them.

  14. By Titus on Jun 1, 2011 | Reply

    Let’s start a new blog– this one is in the league of voting on team helmets– although I liked that blog better. This is purely nonsensical conjecture going nowhere.

  15. By hector hugo on Jun 1, 2011 | Reply

    i hope , what a new rules are goods , for the teams ,

  16. By Shawn on Jun 1, 2011 | Reply

    Mike Wobs … gotcha , Id like to see them change the catch rule just a tad . Im referring to the Charles Johnson TD catch against the bears week 1 where he had 2 feet a knee and his arse all touch the ground one at a time before trying to stand up and dropping the ball and it was ruled incomplete

    and the second rule change is the td celebration rule … i think some of the clebrations where fun and some were stupid maybe allow a team celebration and a football celebration but penalize for using props such as a sharpie or a pylon or a towel

  17. By Shawn on Jun 1, 2011 | Reply

    err calvin johnson not charles johnson lol not a detroit fan sorry

  18. By Shawn on Jun 1, 2011 | Reply

    @Nova … I love your idea , hopefully the judge thinks of that and i bet the deal will get done quickly

  19. By Titus on Jun 1, 2011 | Reply

    Shawn– you are right on the catch– I watched that game in the final minutes–I was so excited for Detroit– I could not believe that was not a TD.

  20. By Titus on Jun 1, 2011 | Reply

    Imagine, had Detroit won that game– who knows what the rest of the season would have been. Would the Bears have hosted the championship? Would the Lions have gained some confidence that would have factored into all of their games — games that were very close– and then make the playoffs? Sometimes one call can have a butterfly effect.

  21. By Titus on Jun 1, 2011 | Reply

    Here’s a rule– when the refs clearly make a poor call– send Sonja out to talk to them.

  22. By Mike B on Jun 1, 2011 | Reply

    I think the excessive celebration rule should be abolished the tv will fill it in with commercials anyway.

  23. By Mike B on Jun 1, 2011 | Reply

    I also believe the intentional ground rule should ba abolished.

  24. By NovaScotiaVike on Jun 1, 2011 | Reply

    Titus, I can see it now…..”Pass Interference,#29 Minnesota, first and goal at the AAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!

  25. By Mike B on Jun 1, 2011 | Reply

    I like the cross bar lowering that will make sure kickers are the oldest players on a team.

  26. By NovaScotiaVike on Jun 1, 2011 | Reply

    If the intentional grounding rule is abolished, you might as well throw away all the sack records, there will be no more sacks. Anyway, there is a brutal thunderstorm moving in here, the lights are flickering, Sonja is going nuts, so goodnight, everyone.

  27. By Frederick Jones on Jun 1, 2011 | Reply

    @Titus, it’s about time someone said something funny on here. I enjoy the Sonja jokes, made a few myself, unfortunately they bombed.

    Nova’s idea about not having Lawyers is sound. What incentive do the lawyers have to end this CBA nonsense.

    I do think the rookies should have a cap on their first contract. Other than that this whole thing is a joke.

  28. By Frederick Jones on Jun 1, 2011 | Reply

    @Mike B.,

    Perhaps you and I could be kickers in the NFL with the goal posts lowered. Are they really considering something so silly?

  29. By Mike B on Jun 1, 2011 | Reply

    no it’s Mike W putting it out there.

  30. By jerseys on Jun 2, 2011 | Reply

    Rules can be changed if there is problem in the future, I agree with you partly, it is true that the third rule you mentioned will increse comeback in the future.

  31. By Parody on Jun 2, 2011 | Reply

    I don’t agree with any of the rules proposed at the beginning of this blog. All three just make too big of a change without any real advantages from them.

    I like Titus’ idea though (taking away the sarcastic twist from it). Referee’s need to be held accountable with immediate publicized correction when they fail at their job. For example, players are fined for breaking certain rules, generally in regards to player safety, so the refs should be fined for not enforcing those rules thus allowing players to be brutalized out of a game (i.e. the 2009 conference championship game where the Saints repeatedly beat the snot out of Favre after he had thrown the ball).

  32. By Parody on Jun 2, 2011 | Reply

    One rule I would change would be the challenge rule. Refs make way too many mistakes, and teams shouldn’t be forced to gamble a timeout in order to correct for a mistake. So I think that all challenges should be called by an impartial referee in a similar system to how it works inside of the 2-minute warning.

  33. By Parody on Jun 2, 2011 | Reply

    That impartial ref could be in charge of calling for commercial timeouts as well, in order to give him ample time to review replays and determine if an official challenge is warranted.

  34. By NovaScotiaVike on Jun 2, 2011 | Reply

    Another good rule change would be to ban Troy Aikman from all telecasts.

  35. By Shawn on Jun 2, 2011 | Reply

    lol Nova … i dont mind troy as much as i hate joe buck’s corporate suck up mentality, ever since he threw a tantrum when Moss fake mooned the p3ckers

  36. By Shawn on Jun 2, 2011 | Reply

    @fred im with you on a rookie salary cap … no rookie should get a top 20 sometimes top 10 contract

  37. By Shawn on Jun 2, 2011 | Reply

    I also dont agree with protecting QBs on the intentional grounding …. QBS HAVE WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY TOO MANY PROTECTIONS

    its football and some guys get hurt …. stafford and some guys dont favre

  38. By Shawn on Jun 2, 2011 | Reply

    and yea titus … i thought detroit was about to have a special year and i do believe that call may have broke some spirits and had a few week carry over on the team

  39. By CA Norwegian on Jun 2, 2011 | Reply

    Bigger E-zone: There will be 10 yards fewer tickets being sold with that one Mike. Isn’t that counter productive to the fiscal contentions?

    Lower the cross bar? Why not go all out and make ithe uprights into a giant dart target where you can get 3, 4, or 5 points for accuracy? But really tighten down so teams will be really chancing it from more than 30 yards. Misses will mean the other team takes over at spot of kick + 20… Result is more going for it on 4th and defenses winning it over on downs. More football, less kicking, but more questions at the end of close games. More football, less kicking with foot, but more excitement and math oriented decision making. Putting a little more talking into the talking heads.
    Why not redo the onside? Good change.

  40. By NDPurple on Jun 2, 2011 | Reply

    Trouble with longer end zones is a lot of stadiums would need to be retrofit-owners would never go for it because it would take away seating/money. Just my thoughts, but I would like the NFL to: change the stupid possession/catch rule they changed last year(referenced by the Calvin Johnson non-catch in Week 1 earlier), and I would also like to see an overtime period like the NCAA has-each team get one possession starting at anwhere from 25-40 yard line. In the NFL version there is only 4 downs (no first downs) and time outs allowed-make the teams play. And if they really want to amp it up-add extra points for field goals of longer distances (say a 40yd+ field goal is 4 pts., a 50yd+ field goal 5 pts). If 1st possession team were to kick a 50yd+ FG, then other team would either have to match to tie or score TD to win games. Sudden death holds not excitement to me like the NCAA/high school overtimes do.

  41. By Stoney on Jun 2, 2011 | Reply

    NOVA, you did it again! LOL on rats& lawyers. FRED, good call on rookie contracts.

  42. By NDPurple on Jun 2, 2011 | Reply

    I should clarify- the NFL did add an overtime session for the playoffs (kind of) but I would like to see it for the regular season as well. And I want to see everyone get back to work

  43. By Parody on Jun 2, 2011 | Reply

    Why not just get rid of overtime all together, with the exception of playoffs? The higher potential for tied games adds an extra dynamic to the game which could make every season considerably more interesting while increasing the overall health and safety of players by avoiding the extra plays that overtime would force.

  44. By DRS on Jun 2, 2011 | Reply

    What about no more field goals, and points after a touchdown, rather make touchdowns seven points; How about no more two points attempts, only touch downs? How about not allowing any tackling and playing flag football, that way the players would reduce their injuries while on the field. Why not put rubber padding around the field so everyone can be safe? After all we want our player to be safe do we not? Of course the previous was in jest but I think the point is well taken. How far do we take this nanny state? When one plays or voluntary does something dangerously should they not expect that something may happen? I do think owners and the NFL should and do all they can do to make the work environment safe for there is much money in evolved in the well being of the players. Life happens and we all take chances in what we do to make a living. That’s life.

  45. By Frederick Jones on Jun 2, 2011 | Reply

    Shawn I agree with you to some extent on the rules protecting the quarterbacks. The way the rules are right now are silly. A defensive player makes a great play to beat his man, and then is supposed to turn into a ballarina to avoid hitting the QB.

  46. By Frederick Jones on Jun 2, 2011 | Reply

    I am not for intentionally injuring any player. We do need rules for that!

  47. By Frederick Jones on Jun 2, 2011 | Reply

    Why change what is working?

    The 2010 season was a great one for the NFL. Why make alot of rule changes?

    Malicious hits should be penalized some how. How about some roughing calls during the game. Perhaps the player(s) involved could miss some game time?

    This would be governed via video during the game.

  48. By Frederick Jones on Jun 2, 2011 | Reply

    Stoney,

    Thank you. Now what are we going to do with the greedy owners?

  49. By Frederick Jones on Jun 2, 2011 | Reply

    Nova, I’m not particularily fond of Aikman either. Isn’t there a way to rate announcers? I doubt that Troy is aching for the money !

  50. By Titus on Jun 2, 2011 | Reply

    Yeah, Parody, that was disgusting– had the Saints been appropriately penalized for their hits we would have made the Superbowl. There needs to consequences if the refs goof– especially when they change who wins and loses.

  51. By Titus on Jun 2, 2011 | Reply

    Yep, Shawn, the refs and rules change what is really happening far too often. Too much politics– let them play.

  52. By Titus on Jun 2, 2011 | Reply

    Frederick, my Sonja jokes are funny because I allow Sonja to be part of the fun– when you make Sonja part of the menu, it is not so funny. Think of it this way- if Sonja would smile, then your joke is on track.

  53. By Titus on Jun 2, 2011 | Reply

    Not sure about taking OT out of the equation– I don’t like ties in the records– but that’s me. I do like the change for playoffs where a team must score either a TD or two field goals– ironic MN did not vote for that change when I believe the Saints-Vikings game was instrumental in getting that passed– that championship game was so evenly matched and it came down to a flip of the coin– they could have skipped the whole game and just flipped a coin for a kick attempt.

  54. By Titus on Jun 2, 2011 | Reply

    I watched Kyle Rudolph presser– that kid is impressive in the interview– confident and respectful— as well as eager to be a team player.

  55. By Titus on Jun 2, 2011 | Reply

    Talk about retrofit the stadiums for a bigger end zone– does anyone commute on the I-94 corridor? They are putting in light rail — I was driving today and saw how the transit will swallow a lane on each side— I wonder, in our car-oriented society how that will work. Most people that are driving that stretch now will continue to drive– they will not change to the demographics of a light rail rider. So, as I drove home tonight, I pondered– traffic will get worse with less lanes and as we all sit in congestion and pollution, a train car will float by, half empty.

  56. By Titus on Jun 2, 2011 | Reply

    I mention the retrofit because that is what they are doing on I-94– a lot of that stretch between the downtowns has no room to breathe– so the light rail is gobbling up the lanes. Who is behind these designs?

  57. By Titus on Jun 2, 2011 | Reply

    Let’s see…
    What else can I talk about tonight?

  58. By Titus on Jun 2, 2011 | Reply

    This is 10 in a row– Frederick Jones you call it, alright– this blog is sloooow in the summertime.

  59. By Titus on Jun 2, 2011 | Reply

    How about make this an even dozen. I think McNabb will be brought in– almost a no brainer. Get used to it folks. Frazier was with McNabb and actually, McNabb has a very good character– may not be the best player, but he is a good man. We may be pleasantly surprised.

  60. By Titus on Jun 2, 2011 | Reply

    Okay, I am going on a limb and predicting Superbowl if we get a season this year.
    BAROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

  61. By Parody on Jun 2, 2011 | Reply

    That’s not a limb Titus, just a twig. Watch out, it’s sure to break the second the wind starts to blow.

  62. By Frederick Jones on Jun 2, 2011 | Reply

    @Titus,

    Although you had 12 blogs in a row, I found them all interesting.

    Shawn and Titus made good points about the overtimes. I would also like to see the college-style overtimes. They are more fair and interesting to watch.

    But…please don’t change many of the rules. I like the way things are now.

    NDPurple is right about the stadiums, they will not be able to add 5 yards to each end zone in every stadium.

  63. By Frederick Jones on Jun 2, 2011 | Reply

    The GB Packers blog is even slower. They don’t always allow blogs for each topic.

  64. By Parody on Jun 2, 2011 | Reply

    I checked out the Packer blogs back during the playoffs and found they were averaging less than 1 comment per article. I tried everything I could to post in there but it all was rejected. It’s no wonder that some of their fans begin to troll rivals’ sites with that kind of treatment.

  65. By D.S on Jun 3, 2011 | Reply

    These are stupid ideas. They seem like rules that you want when you play Madden not ones you put in an actual game.

  66. By DRS on Jun 3, 2011 | Reply

    How about a rule to check the ref’s bank accounts to see who is paying for certain teams wins, (Dallas, and others), to get rid of some of the corruption in the NFL.

  67. By DRS on Jun 3, 2011 | Reply

    Though the families may not like that. LOL.

  68. By PAUL M. on Jun 4, 2011 | Reply

    I’VE GOT A RULE CHANGE PROPOSAL:

    NO MORE “NOSE OF THE FOOTBALL BROKE THE PLANE” — IT GOES AGAINST EVERYTHING TOUGH, SMASH-MOUTH & ABSOLUTE ABOUT FOOTBALL!!

    THE NFL HAS TOLD US THAT AN OFFENSE CAN START ON THEIR OWN 5 YARD LINE, SMASH & SLASH & WEAR OUT THE DEFENSE FOR 95 YARDS — AND THEN ONLY HAVE TO MOMENTARILY POKE THE BALL’S NOSE OVER THE GOAL LINE? I’VE ALWAYS THOUGHT IT RIDICULOUS!

    THE ENTIRE FOOTBALL MUST CROSS THE GOAL LINE — THAT’S AN ABSOLUTE “PENETRATION” BY THE SCORING TEAM.

    OH, SO SOME SAY THAT IT’S VERY HARD TO SCORE ON A “COMPRESSED” FIELD BECAUSE THE DEFENSE DOESN’T HAVE AS MUCH REAL ESTATE TO COVER, BUT IT’S ALL RELATIVE.

    IF YOU HAVE A SMASH MOUTH OFFENSE THAT JUST RAMMED THE BALL DOWN THE D’s THROATS FOR A 6-MINUTE DRIVE, THE DEFENSE WILL BE IN NO SHAPE TO STOP ANYONE ON A GOAL LINE STAND. AND IF THEY DO, THEN BRAVO TO THEM.

    IF, ON THE OTHER HAND, AN OFFENSE MADE IT DOWN TO THE GOAL LINE IN 3 PLAYS, WITH A RELATIVELY FRESH DEFENSE ON THE FIELD, THEN YES — IT SHOULD BE HARDER FOR THE O TO SCORE — THEY WILL NEED TO DISPLAY BALANCE. THEY WILL NEED TO ALSO BE BUILT FOR “SMASH-MOUTH”. NO PRETENDERS, NO BALLERINAS HERE — THE ENTIRE BALL MUST PENETRATE THE GOAL LINE!

  69. By Kane29 on Jun 8, 2011 | Reply

    Get rid of intentional grounding, But, as soon as contact is made from a defensive player to the quarterback, if the QB tries to throw it into the ground, It’s an instant fumble.

  70. By Pockettes on Jun 12, 2011 | Reply

    You want fun game changes? How about giving a point for at least making into the red Zone. So 1pt for breaking the red zone however, if you are penalized yards that take you back out, then you lose that point.

    Talk about your game changers!

  71. By Pockettes on Jun 12, 2011 | Reply

    I like the idea of being stranded on that island with the Minnesota vikings…

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