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Sunday, August 18, 2013

DEAR ROGER GOODELL. ARE YOU READY FOR SOME HEAD INJURIES? HOW TO FIX THE NFL

Two seasons ago, in hopes of getting a quick bump on concussion reduction stats, NFL owners decided to move up the kick-off kicking spot by five yards. That unneeded and unimaginative move took excitement from the game. 

If NFL owners are serious about nearly eliminating concussions from the NFL-brand of football, I give you rules changes to do it, Mr. Goodell. These rules changes shall improve the athleticism of the sport and thus add excitement to fans.


[1] HELMET-TO-HELMET HITS CANNOT CAUSE FUMBLES

Since all turnovers get subjected to video review, it's simple to see if leading helmet contact has happened on any fumble play or interception thrown. If helmet-to-helmet is causal in a fumble, offense should retain possession at the spot of the recovery.

[2] HELMET-TO-HELMET SPEARING BECOMES FIRST DOWN ON THE 1-YARD LINE 

All purpose-driven spearing hits should result in the offense gaining a first and goal on the opponents' one yard line.

[3] NO LEAVING FEET

It should be illegal for any defensive player to leave his feet when attempting to tackle a ball carrier who is coming toward him. Also, it should be illegal for a ball carrier to leave his feet in attempt to leap over a pile. As well, it should be illegal for any offensive blocker to leave his feet to pick off a defensive potential tackler.

The only time a player should be allowed to leave his feet is attempting to make a shoe-string tackle with the ball carrier ahead of the would be tackler.

The punishment for such style of play should be game ejection for first offense. Two offenses in a season should result in a ban for the remainder of the season, with a game day roster slot lost for the team. If done by the same player, three times within five years, that player should be banned for life.

It is likely that nearly all concussions as well as neck injuries arise from helmet-to-helmet hits as players leave their feet in hopes of turning themselves into projectiles so they can "jack up" opposing players in hopes of having those players carted off the field.


[4] REDUCE THE PLAY CLOCK TO 20 SECONDS

Right now, teams get 40 seconds from the end of a previous play, but only 25 seconds following a penalty or timeout, because there has been more time for resting. 

By giving that much time between plays, a less athletic player can take the field and thus putting on any field, players who lack control over their bodies. 

Having a less time on a play clock would speed up the game, require conditioned athletes on fields, require athletes who need to balance burst with stamina. 


[5] MINIMUM AND MAXIMUM WEIGHTS

There is wide disparity among player sizes, too wide, with some players too small to be on the field safely while far too many guys far too big. Having oversized players cuts down on athleticism, putting guys on fields who lack control over their bodies. Also, smaller guys get forced to launch their bodies as missiles (see [1] above) as a means of survival.

Beginning the 2014-15 season, the maximum size of a player should be 325 pounds. The minimum size for a player ought to be 190 pounds.

For the next two seasons, the NFL should dictate a 5% reduction in weight from the maximum and a 5% increase in weight from the minimum. So in the 2014 season, players ought to weigh no more than 308.75 and no less than 199.5 For the 2015 season, the max weight would be 293.31 and the min weight would be 209.475.

If it weren't for rules changes over the years that facilitated the size race in the NFL, most players would not be athletic enough to play. They are too fat. The typical offensive lineman works no more than 8.9 minutes over three hours. The rest of the time, he stands around catching his breath.

[6] WIDEN THE FIELD

Also, NFL owners ought to consider widening the field to at least 60 yards from 53⅓ yards. A wider field would put more emphasis on open field play, which could open up the game. NFL Owners always seem to be on a quest to increase scoring as it seems they believe fans reject low-scoring games as boring. There is a way to do it. Having players further apart and making it harder to tackle could reduce head and neck injuries.