The December issue of Kansas City Sports & Fitness is out and available throughout the Kansas City area.
Bottom Line’s John Landsberg has written for the publication for several years and his December column discusses some of the rule changes that could be made to improve the game of football along with some other thoughts.
TIME TO CONSIDER CHANGING SOME SILLY FOOTBALL RULES
As another football season begins to slide into history this seems like a good time to make a few suggestions for rule changes that could be easily implemented for next season.
First, and this can be implemented in both college and pro football, let’s go back to calling a fumble a fumble. Either hold the ball or don’t hold it.
Nowadays players cough up the ball on a regular basis, but then we have instant replays drag on forever to look at it from every possible vantage point. It gives you a headache.
Did his elbow hit the ground first? How about his knee? His head? Did the ground cause the fumble? Aliens? Blah, blah, blah.
Let’s just simplify the stupid rule. The ball carrier has to have to ball in his possession until the play is blown dead by officials. If the ball pops out for any reason—including hitting the turf—it is a fumble. Clear enough?
And while we are at it, let’s stop that silly “breaking the plane” rule in the end zone where the player simply sticks the ball out to touch the imaginary goal line. The new rule would say the ball has to cross the goal line and the player would have to be in complete possession of it until the referees blow their whistle. Once again, fewer replays would be necessary.
Another rule that must be changed immediately is the absolute frustrating calling of a timeout AFTER a play has been run or a field goal has been kicked. How many times have you seen some poor college kid kick a field goal only to have the officials say that Team X had called a timeout and that he now has to re-kick it? It’s not fair. And stupid.
To have a team line up and run an entire play only to learn some coach called a timeout is silly. Either call a timeout before the play starts or forget it. No do-overs.
Third on my list of rule changes involves kickoffs. First, colleges and the NFL are going to have to determine if they really want kickoffs or not. If the trend of sissification of football continues then let the teams just start from the 20-yard line.
But today watching kickers kick into the end zone ranks right up there on the excitement level with watching paint dry. They line up, kick it into the end zone and TV breaks for five minutes of commercials.
I personally think kickoffs and runbacks are an important part of any game and my solution is to start having kickers kick off from the 20-yard line and let it rip. If you can kick it 80 yards into the end zone then go for it. Otherwise, let’s see some runbacks.
Last, but not least, kickers have evolved over time and have become too good. They are ruining the game. In 1992, the NFL’s average points per game on field goals was 7.3; today it is up to 11. It is a bad trend and a boring one.
Let’s face it, extra points have become such a given that the only reason we pay any attention to them at all is because we know the replay of the touchdown follows them.
How good are field goal kickers today? In the first four weeks of the NFL season kickers made 90% of their attempts (vs. 83% in 2011). According to USA Today, in 1992 kickers made 49% of field goal attempts from 50 yards or more. In 2012 that has jumped to about 80%.
I have suggested in the past that soccer goals be increased in height and width because goalies today are much more athletic than they were in the past. There are too few goals in soccer.
The same is true for kickers in football. It’s time to shrink the width of goal posts in football. Let’s stop making field goals and extra points gimmes and add a little challenge and excitement to them.
One of my friends has had the unfortunate burden of having Chiefs season tickets for more than a decade. He lives and dies with the team, which is really pretty sad considering the team is not living and dying over his feelings.
My friend is not a big Scott Pioli fan and feels that the Chiefs’ General Manager was made to look like a genius in New England because Bill Belicheck was the head coach and Tom Brady was the quarterback.
My friend refers to it simply as the “Quin Snyder Effect.” He says that the University of Missouri hired Snyder as its basketball coach a few years ago because he was associated with Duke’s legendary Coach Mike Krzyzewski
Snyder wasn’t Mike Krzyzewski by a long shot. He proved that simply by playing and coaching under a legend didn’t mean he would be a good coach by some sort of osmosis. He was a disaster. Ditto for Pioli.
I am one of those old school “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” kind of guys. That’s why a recent story in Sports Illustrated about Missouri’s Stan Kroenke didn’t make me feel warm and fuzzy about the chances of our KC Royals ever being a top-tier baseball team.
Kroenke owns the famous Arsenal soccer team, the St. Louis Rams of the NFL, the Denver Nuggets basketball team and the Avalanche hockey club (and even their arena). He doesn’t have a Major League Baseball team…yet.
But Kroenke, who has been labeled “value conscious” and “cheap” by some fans, likes to win, but not at the sake of profits. Long ago he married into the Walmart family and made much of his fortune developing malls anchored by Walmart stores.
In other words, with the Royals owned by former Walmart President and CEO David Glass, it has been pretty much operated as a business entity. If given a choice, he will always put profits ahead of a winning team in KC. There is no real passion for winning as long as fans show up anyway.
With the Royals and Chiefs nothing will change until the fans make a statement with their checkbooks. Until then, it is simply business as usual.
PS: Have a Merry Christmas and here’s hoping 2013 will be a Happy New Year for all our sports teams in Kansas City. Keep the faith!!