Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Goondell butchering the League: Offseason '09 Complaints

Roger Goondell has continued his reign of terror by now further neutering the league with the latest rule proposals during the GM meetings.

Take a look at some of these gems. Three are awful... truly outrageous, truly outrageous...ly awful.

On an onside kick, at least three players must be lined up outside each inbounds line, one of whom must be outside the yard-line number. Folks, this is the type of change we can believe in. This basically eliminates the "bunch" onside kick formation, which the competition committee felt was causing too many injuries.

And in another shocking twist, the league has done away with the three-man wedge that once allowed three grown men to hold hands and race up the field together on kick returns. Here's how Rule 6, Section 1, Article 3(d) now reads:

"After the ball is kicked, no more than two receiving team players may intentionally form a wedge in an attempt to block for the runner. An illegal wedge is defined as three or more players lined up shoulder-to-shoulder within two yards of each other."

Fine, this is okay. Many of the guys have been knocked the eff out because of these wedges of death. The league just doesn't give a shit because these are special teamers and not Tawm Brady.

But the league did offer this other rule:

NFL director of officiating Mike Pereira explained Tuesday afternoon at the St. Regis Hotel, site of the annual owners' meeting, that rules have been clarified to classify Pollard's hit as roughing the passer for a hit below the knee.

"If you go to the ground, you can't forcibly lunge," Pereira said.

Pereira said the quarterback "has a strike zone from the shoulder to the knees" where all hits are allowable. But below the knee, a defender cannot lead with his helmet or shoulder. That will be a 15-yard penalty.

Pereira did say defenders may wrap up or swipe at a quarterback's lower legs to bring him down.

My main issue with this is also this part: "If you go to the ground, you can't forcibly lunge." What on earth does this mean. If you are on the ground are you considered out of the play? What constitutes a lunge? The problem with these rules is that there is not a clear cut definition for what's a lunge and what isn't.

Apparently it means 'if a defensive player going after the QB is on the ground....he should have to get back on his feet before hitting the QB'. But with wrapping up or swiping at the legs, do they really expect defenses to stand a chance?

Furthermore, now a defender can't do the following: (1) lunge or launch himself into the QB, (2)pick them up, (3) drive them into the ground by falling on them, (4)hit them at or below the knee, (5)hit them anywhere in the head, and (6) specifically no head/head contact, etc.

The no head/head rule is the one that kills me the most. How is a 6'3 defender supposed to hit a 6'3 QB w/o the huge risk of a head/head hit? Well, he has to lower his head (another penalty), be sure to hit the QB's body first (w/o lunging), and bring him down to the ground w/o picking him up or falling on him. Oooookaaaaay. Now, the NFL thinks the defender should have to get back up before hitting the Qb at all? WTH?

Okay fine you gotta protect your QBs but for god sake please call it evenly for all QBs. I'm tired of guys like Brady, Manning getting preferential treatment while some others get smashed and get no calls because they are "big." You wonder if the league would make this a rule if it didn't happen to the golden boy? Would this be a rule if Brodie Croyle got hit by Rodney Harrison in the same way as Brady did to Pollard? Let me dust off the old magic 8 ball and say 'ALL SIGNS POINT TO NO.'

The third accepted proposal involves a play in which Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Hines Ward made a block that resulted in a broken jaw for Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Keith Rivers. A 15-yard penalty will be enforced if a player delivers a blindside block to the head of a defender using his helmet, forearm or shoulder. The penalty will be enforced if a helmet, shoulder or forearm strikes the head or neck of the defender.

This rule angers me more than all others. I understand that you got to protect the players but again this rule isn't clear. Let me try to reason this one out.

If you hit the body you're still within the rules. The issue with the "blind-side" block rule will be that refs will not only have to determine whether there was contact to the head, but also if the block was in fact a "blind-side" block. If it was then it's a penalty. If it wasn't a blindside block & the same contact occurs, it's legal.

So, basically, all a defender has to do is turn away from an offensive player ready to block, and that offensive player is essentially taken out of the play.

Thanks NFL.

The final change adds forearm and shoulder hits to protect defenseless receivers. In the past, officials gave an unnecessary roughness penalty to a defender if he delivered a helmet hit to a receiver going across the middle of the field or any spot on the field in which he appeared to be defenseless. Starting this fall, the penalty will also apply if the defender hits the defenseless receiver in the head or neck with his forearm or shoulder.

So now the defender has to be certain that both the receiver's feet are on the ground before he lays the wood?

So I suppose this means the WR will have a free opportunity to catch the ball, gain possesion, get their feet down, wipe their nose, change the maxipad, look-out for a defender, and take shit all before the defender can legally tough him. I guess teams can now resign the great Todd Pinkston off the scrap heap.

Now every single pass will be thrown a tad high so every receiver can jump up to nicely catch it in the air and land safely on the ground. It would be completely within the rules to jump for every pass, and you'd never be able to hit the wideout until he lands with two feet on the ground and has possession. This would ensure a much, much higher completion percentage for QBs since their WRs cannot be hit until they have possession, unlike presently when whether in the air or on their feet defenders can aim to lay the wood to dislodge a ball before the receiver has possession.



Can someone tell me how this is fucking possible? This does nothing but slow the game down.

In fact, all of these rule changes are completely adverse to what the league has built; a hard hitting game where some of the best athletes in the world can make plays and win championships.

Forget the adage "Defense wins championships." Defense may win championships but offense sells tickets. We now see where the priority really lies with the league.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The priority is clear. The league wants Kyle Orton to win a championship!