NFL Changes FG, PAT Leaping Rule; Adds Ejections as Possible Penalty
I hate to keep saying this because I love the NFL. But, the league got it wrong again!
Here's a look a new rule changes from the NFL for the 2017 season. The motive behind one of the changes, in my opinion, is solely based on money.
Rather than having officials scurry to a booth to go 'under the hood', refs will now conduct official reviews on a tablet. Simultaneously, the owners have also decided that 'final say' on a play under review will come from the head of officials, Dean Blandino, and the 'command center' in New York.
I have two issues:
- Whether it be a laptop or tablet, anytime I'm in the sun with one, I can barely see the screen. Doesn't this make it more difficult for officials to see a play under review?
- If the 'command center' has the final call, then why not just them make the call? Give the referee a head set, let him communicate verbally with New York - and they can instruct him as to what the official ruling should be. The 'command center' has (one would assume) multiple screens to look at, the league rules available to them for reference, and NO GLARE FROM THE SUN!
The answer, though, is money.The officials can look at fancy tablets allowing the league to sell a sponsorship to the highest paying tablet company. That's what's going on here. I, personally, agree with the change that allows the 'final say' to come from the command center. But, when that's the case, it means that having officials review the play on the field - on a tablet - is otherwise meaningless.
Next up: You can no longer leap or hurdle the offensive line in an attempt to block a PAT or FG.
Reason: Player safety
My Conclusion: Stupid. To my knowledge, no player ever got hurt on such a play. The NFL.com's story on the rule changes referenced a stat that said 41 PATs or FGs were blocked in 2016. Three came via the leap/hurdle technique. So, not a huge number, but players weren't getting hurt on this play anyway.
Also, the players association did approve this change. But, here's my counter point to that - The PA can't turn down rule changes that the league says with 'protect player safety', all while they're suing the league for not protecting players. The PA didn't come up with this rule, they just said: 'Yeah, ok. fine'.
Finally, players can be ejected by a referee during the game for 'egregious or dirty' hits to the head. I'm all for player safety enhancements, especially when it comes to head injuries. I'll only say this. If a ref can eject a player, you may see a case where a key player is ejected based off ofa snap judgement by an official. Currently, the league has the ability to review a play - hours later, or a couple days later - and make a determination about whether a player's action deserves further sanction (i.e. a fine or suspension). I prefer the latter because it removes the possibility of an official getting caught up in the moment and throwing a guy out. In some cases, if looked at more closely after the fact, cooler heads may decide that the play did not warrant an ejection.