Thursday, January 6, 2011

Top 10 ways to improve NFL officiating

10) Reintroduce discretionary penalties. We used to have five or fifteen yard options for face mask calls, which just made all the sense in the world, really. Now we don't, and it makes for way too many bailout moments for the offense when a swarming defense shows poor form. The refs shouldn't be put in the position of bailing out incompetence.

9) Punitive review delays. How many times have you seen a coach try to review a play that the rules say isn't reviewable? I say if your coach delays the game for something he should know that he can't review, that's a challenge that they've lost. (And yes, I know that as an Eagles fan, I've just killed my team. So be it. Too many pointless reviews as is.)

8) Equivalent penalties for offensive pass interference. I'm not the first to suggest this, so let me just add to the chorus. I'm also down with crazy down and distances from offensive pass interference on bombs. Second and 50? Let's see you convert that, glory boys.

7) Offensive holding is a loss of down. Defensive pass holding is an automatic first, which is one of those kick in the groin fouls that I just can't abide. Ten yards for the offense, but no loss of down? In some situations, that's a thoroughly acceptable loss for the offense. If we really want to lose the clutching and grabbing, make it second and 20. That's manly.

6) Bonus penalties. If a team is really playing like ass with the laundry, let's ramp up the costs over time. Imagine the bedlam in Seattle when the fifth false start on the visitors now costs 10 yards instead of 5. Or the third personal foul of the day against some headhunter LB is an automatic ejection, rather than some pointless post-game fine.

5) Out of bounds kick offs are 15 yards and a rekick. Screw this on the 40 nonsense; that's a defensible move against the Devin Hesters of the world, and deprives fans of seeing some of the most exciting guys in the game do their work. Make the other team rekick if from their 15, or their goal line if they do it again. A third time is a safety. We need more safeties!

4) Late hit retribution. I'm not one of these people that think the defense is always right, so we need to give the offense a bone now, too. If a defensive player takes a late hit on a skill player, it should be not just the flag and 15, but the player should also have the option to get one free shot in as a return. And as a bonus, the offensive player gets to pick the teammate who brings the pain. Like you wouldn't love to see this.

3) Allow leverage. It's plainly ridiculous to me that if you are attempting to block a field goal kick, you can't use the body of a teammate to get higher up. That's just silly. Kickers have a job that, by the numbers, they are getting better at every year, with an ever-increasing number of indoor facilities to ply their trade in. If the defense can form a human pyramid to stop the attempt, and the kicking team can't figure out an effective counter or fake, then woe be unto the kickers. It's high time that football players learn from cheerleaders, dammit.

2) Turn off their mics. It's clear at this point in the evolution of the game that many of these guys love to hear their voice on the stadium public adress boards. Forget that. They've got definitive hand gestures that every decent fan already knows, and if that fails, it would at least give the TV announcers something useful to tell us. No other sport make the ref a member of the broadcast team. Lose this here, please. I don't want to be able to recognize who is working the game from their mic voice.

1) Flopping ejections. I'm completely serious about this: nothing on this earth offends American football fans more than flops. We hate them in Euro football, we hate them in basketball, and we hate the idea that the sport will ever have them. And now that helmet to helmet rules and flags and fines for most concussions are a reality, flopping is a thoroughly justified strategy. And a repugnant one. Give the refs the option to toss anyone who takes a dive, or even pules for a flag from their dive, and we'll all watch happier. (OK, maybe not the people who root for diva WRs. But screw those people.)

Add your own in the comments, as always...

1 comment:

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