The NFL is a constantly changing league, yet for all the annual changes little time is made to fine tune the rules, but a true minor league might help.
The league is voting on 23 proposed rule changes that will affect everything from instant replays to challenges March 23-25.
- Coaches can challenge anything, except for turnovers and scoring plays.
- Coaches should be able to challenge all penalties.
- Coaches should be allowed to challenge all personal fouls.
- Personal fouls should be reviewed without a coach challenging it.
- All penalties that result in an automatic first down should be reviewable.
- On plays where a call has been switched from a fumble or interception to an incomplete pass, officials can enforce a penalty on a defenseless receiver.
- All penalties against defenseless receivers should be reviewable.
- The number of coachs challenges should be increased from two to three.
- Automatic reviews should include plays that would result in a touchdown if overturned.
- The game clock should be reviewable on the final play of the half or game.
- Whether the play clock expired before the ball was snapped should be reviewable.
- Fixed cameras should be placed on all boundary lines at every stadium to provide instant replay angles.
- Stadium-produced video should be used for instant replays, not just TV tape.
- Extra points should be moved from the two-yard line to the 15-yard line.
- If a two-point conversion is successful, teams should have an opportunity to gain an extra point with a 50-yard field goal.
- Prohibit players from pushing teammates while rushing punts.
- Both teams should be guaranteed a possession in overtime.
- Peel back blocks should be illegal for all offensive players.
- Provide an intended defenseless receiver protection following an interception.
- Unsportsmanlike conduct penalties at the end of the half should be enforced on the following kickoff.
- It should be illegal for a running back to chop block a defenseless opponent outside the tackle box.
- Linebackers should be allowed to wear numbers 40 to 49.
- Offensive players with eligible numbers shouldnt be allowed to report as ineligible and line up on the outside of a formation.
Sometimes league changes are attempted during the preseason to gauge if it will dramatically affect the game, but as many controversial calls turning the tide of games and little time for players and coaching to really adapt to said change.
I propose a true minor league system that the NFL can use for multiple reasons among them.
- It will allow the new league rules to be tested thoroughly for the full season before they’re implemented in the main league.
- Players who do not make the main roster can improve their skills in the farm league without having to rely on a financially unstable league like past alternatives (i.e.: UFL, USFL and the XFL).
- Not only can new rules be tested, but newer safety equipment can to. In light of improving safety for the game, more dramatic changes can be tested to protect players to see if it can work.
- Players can still have a chance at making an NFL roster when time can be spent on improving different aspects current league coaching staffs don’t have time to invest in.
- It would be a better outlet for lesser collegiate programs who might not otherwise be noticed by NFL programs.
- Additional revenue in smaller markets will drive the economy particularly in college towns where they will have an additional team to support. It can also be a testing ground to see if an NFL team can work in said market.
- By having an economic foundation in the U.S., the NFL can better sell its product overseas than NFL Europe ever could. It would also provide less stress on current NFL teams to play overseas as well.
By allowing the league time to adjust accordingly, the NFL can adjust and fine tune the new changes to better mold the modern game to minimize controversy.