Friday, April 4, 2008

Unoriginal Bastards: NFL

This isn't an NFL site, but because "The League" often has an impact on the college game, let's go ahead and take a look at the new changes.

Teams that win the coin toss can now defer until the second half.
According to the story, over half of the college coaches deferred this season, so now we will get a chance to see what the pros think is the right decision. Obviously the situation matters. Penn State often defers and tries to build early momentum off of their solid defense. It also gives us all a chance to forget how bad our offense is until at least a couple of minutes into the game.

An interesting thing to note: our favorite offensive genius, the one that didn't score a touchdown for weeks this year and went 3-9 against a very average schedule, opted to take the ball in ever single coin toss in his Notre Dame career until this year's USC game. That's almost three full years of nothing but "give me the ball".
Unless literally carried out by a defensive player, receivers must land with two feet inbounds for a completion.
This is another effort to make the pro game more like the college one. This call was questionable at best and, if I remember right, not reviewable. Over half the calls were later determined to be wrong by the head official who reviews the tape. It's not really the ref's fault, making that call in real time is tough as hell, and when you look back at instant replay in ultra super crystal clear slow motion, it's easy to call the guy an idiot.

What I'm most excited about, however, is that the Pro fans that I often end up sitting next to at these games will stop their incessant hounding of the refs for the "push out" call. The rule doesn't exist in college and I don't think it ever has. Now that we have some consistency maybe those people will slowly stop embarrassing themselves at the games.
The five-yard face mask penalty for incidental contact with the facemask was eliminated. Any twisting, grabbing or illegal use of a facemask will result in a 15-yard penalty.
Another copy cat rule, one I didn't like one bit. I'm not going to rehash my long and drawn out rant from earlier in the year, but I don't like the idea of forcing an official to decide between a rather powerful auto-first down 15 yard personal foul and no penalty at all. The five yarder is important, I think, because it will still discourage defenders from reaching for the face. Now we are going to have to make a judgment call, in real time, as to whether the defender really fucked up the guys neck or not.

So those are the three rule changes that appear to me simply making the pro game more like the college one. The college is doing the same with the running clock out of bounds and new standardized play clock. I was always of the impression that it would be nice to keep the college game tailored for college play, but with both types of games being fit into the same type of TV slot, I suppose this is inevitable.

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