Ok I know that this upcoming NFL off season will be spent by all parties to prevent a work stoppage. I will leave all that technique salary cap stuff to the experts. But if I were in charge of the NFL Competition Committee there are a number of things I would change.
First and foremost, I would fire all officials and hire full time referees. The league’s officiating corps has become too old, and many are out of shape. These part time zebras far too many times do not know the rules and blow many calls. The NFL needs to put permanent officials who can work on Sundays, and study film, and the many complicated rules the NFL has enacted during the rest of the week.
Here are some of the rules I would change:
· Over Time: No team should lose the NFC Championship Game because of a coin toss. In OT both teams should get at least one possession. After that whoever has the lead wins, or if still tied, the first one to score after each one has a possession wins.
· Late Flags: How many times do we see a play conclude and no flag is thrown, and then the home crowd roars or player complains and boom, here it comes (Pittsburgh game 12/27/09). There should be a three second rule. If the official has not thrown a flag immediately after the play, then it must be picked up. A player or crowd should not intimidate an official to make a call.
· Delay of Game Penalties: How many times have we seen a quarterback snap the ball well after the play clock reaches: 00? I’ve seen Big Ben do it against us three times last year (2008) at home and got away with it. With all the technology out there you would think they could fix this. My suggestion would be to have the side judge wear a device that goes on his wrist like a watch. The device would be synchronized with the play clock. The line judge’s only job at that particular time would be to watch for the center to snap the ball. If his device vibrates, and the ball does not snap, then bingo delay of game, he blows the whistle.
· Let the Men Play Football: How ridiculous and inconsistent is the NFL officiating? VERY! The NFL zebras should be instructed that unless a foul is blatant, no flag is thrown. If it is a judgment call that could change a game’s course, the refs should huddle. No questionable pass interference calls should determine the outcome of a game (i.e.. Bengals home game).
· Instant Replay: Get rid of the red flags, get rid of those silly replay booths on the side lines, and get rid of the home stadium controlling the viewing of instant replay. Leave instant replay to the discretion of an off field official upstairs in the booth. That official would be responsible to call down to the referee and tell him that the previous play warrants a review. He would look at it upstairs and call down to tell the ref to tell him to reverse or let the play stand.
· Finally, the head official should be required to hold a press conference immediately after the game like both opposing coaches. They should have to answer why they called this or that. They shouldn’t be allowed to hide behind the NFL propaganda machine when they make a game blowing call.
These are some of the things I would do if I were in charge of the NFL Competition Committee. I have been watching football for 41 seasons now. I have seen the quality of the league’s officiating become an embarrassment. The NFL is the most popular and most profitable of the top four leagues. They have the worst officiating in all of sports. It’s time to spend some money and make it right.