For more than half a century, the NBA has operated with the most ridiculous rule in all of sport, one that annihilates the logic of its competition at the most crucial juncture in a game. And now, here comes the NFL with a proposition that is even dumber and less rational than the ball-forward waiting time rule.
Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network reports that all 32 teams in the league have been sent a list of possible rule changes that includes a radical proposal for teams to retain possession after scoring. Rather than attempting a side kick, the team may choose to attempt to convert a first down of their 25-yard line to reach or exceed 40. That's it: 15 yards, and that team can keep the ball. Each team would be allowed to do this no more than twice per game.
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It's a rule that was conceived by the American Football Alliance, which lasted a single season, which should tell you what the idea is worth.
Pelissero said on Twitter that "it seems that support for the idea is growing."
Apparently, he's only been talking to the fools in the league.
Admit it: You thought the NFL was above such tricks.
In recent years it has become more difficult for teams to successfully convert side kicks. The NFL made changes to the rules in 2018 to make kickoffs less physically punishing, since those who cover kicks are no longer able to stack players on one side of the ball and are forced to start their careers just one meter behind.
That led to a precipitous drop in successful side kicks. In 2017, side kicks were successful 12 out of 57 times, a rate of 21 percent. In 2018, that fell to 6 percent, then recovered to 14 percent in 2019.
The NFL had the new "quarter and 15,quot; rule for the most recent Pro Bowl. The Pro Bowl is atrocious, so having heinous rules is not a hassle. Putting them in the body of the NFL season is outrageous.
That's currently the case with the NBA rule that allows teams to advance the ball 50 feet simply by requesting time-out in the last two minutes of the fourth quarter or overtime. The team uses it more frequently at the end of games to make their attempt at a draw or a winning shot less daunting. It's stupid. For the sake of creating artificial excitement, the league rewards the team that spent the previous 47.9 minutes playing in a deficit.
In a fairly administered sport, the reward for not performing as well as the opposition is supposed to be defeat.
With the side kick, the soccer rules are not tortured to give the final team a chance for a comeback. Technically, each kickoff in each game is a free ball, provided it runs for 10 yards. One can choose to throw a side kick at any time, as the Steelers did against the Cowboys with a 20-10 record in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl 30. Or one can use it to fuel a comeback attempt after scoring late, like the Patriots did. against the browns in December 2013.
Allowing the end team an opportunity to hold the ball after scoring simply by placing them at 25 and executing a play is antithetical to the entire NFL rulebook. There is nothing like this on any page.
It's a cheap trick trying to make games "more exciting,quot;.
However, sports are at their best, when the excitement is the product of fair competition between elite artists. The NFL has become the world's richest and most popular sports league without ruining the game. This idea must be kicked to the curb. Let Justin Tucker do the work, so we'll never see him again.