This time of year, NFL owners gather around and propose rule changes to make the game, as they see of it, better or safer. In the past, this has led to changes in overtime, kickoffs, and extra points.
The newest rule change has affected the aesthetics of the game. A running back wearing number 82? Disgusting, but sure, let’s do it. A defensive end wearing number 52? Go for it. The NFL has approved for the number slots for certain position groups to expand as follow:
The expanded jerseys will allow running backs, tight ends, fullbacks, H-backs and wide receivers to wear numbers 1-49 and 80-89; defensive backs can choose from 1-49; linebackers 1-59 and 90-99; offensive linemen 50-79; and defensive linemen 50-79 and 90-99. QBs, kickers and punters will remain in 1-19.
Nothing is sacred anymore. Nothing means anything if everything changes. Whether it’s two extra crappy playoff games that put us to sleep, an additional week of terrible regular season football, or a running back ordained by an 82 jostling past linebacker with a 93 falling into the turf, it’s all for the worst. Leave it to the Kansas City Chiefs to come up with something this stupid.
The other approved rule changes are:
- The league approved expanded booth-to-official communication. The hope is the increase in allowed communication will lead to fewer errors on objective calls that can be clearly seen on television.
- An onside kick proposal from the competition committee to limit the receiving team to players in the “setup zone” was approved. The hope is that the tweak will help make onside kicks easier for the kicking teams to recover.
- Owners eliminated overtime in preseason games. It was a no-brainer change. Coaches often avoided tying preseason games late, but the rule ensures playing overtime won’t be an option in exhibition games.
- Owners approved a rule proposed by Chicago to ensure the enforcement of all accepted penalties committed by either team during successive extra point try attempts.
- The league approved a rule propose by the Los Angeles Rams to add a loss of down to a penalty for a second forward pass from behind the line and for a pass thrown after the ball returns behind the line.
The rest of these changes make sense. They are fine little changes to the game. We can get behind them.
What we can’t get behind is Zach Cunningham putting on J.J. Watt’s vacant #99.