Just when you thought it was safe to start enjoying pro football again, the No Fun League rears it's ugly head into the lives of the American people.
The NFL Franchise Owners Meetings took place this week. As always, they discussed and approved some rule changes for the upcoming 2009 season. And as always, the rules will make the game more frustrating to watch and less entertaining than a Meg Ryan movie. It seems like The OC's Dean Hess is now the commissioner and is as strict as he is in Season 3.
Here is a list of the new rule changes:
- If a receiver is in the act of catching a ball, a defender may not touch the receiver's helmet when leading with a shoulder or forearm.
- Offensive players are no longer allowed to deliver "blindside" blocks when leading with a helmet, shoulder or forearm to deliver a blow to a defensive player's head.
- On kickoffs, the kicking team is not allowed to bunch too many players in the middle of the field or to one single side of the field. That involves too many people bunched up on dangerous scrambles during onside kicks.
- Also on kickoffs, the receiving team may not use a blocking "wedge" of more than two players.
- The "Tom Brady" rule - If a player is on the ground, he may not use a second effort to try and take down a quarterback below the knees.
- No tackling is allowed anymore. The NFL is going to be two hand touch this season with the possibility of reducing it to one hand touch for the 2010 season.
- Offensive linemen are no longer allowed to block with their hands unless they engage in a friendly game of paddy cake with the defender.
- Quarterbacks are no longer required to wear helmets or shoulder pads. The League agreed that since rules are so strict about hitting the QB, that they should no longer be required to wear pads.
- The coin toss is now reviewable for instant replay.
- After taking away every touchdown celebration in the book, the League still decided to crack down on the rule by installing a new rule that states: Players are no longer allowed to show any excitement after scoring a touchdown. This includes, cheering, jumping, putting either or both hands in the air, smiling, or saying the word, "Woooo!" All acts will be charged with a 15 yard penalty on the ensuing kickoff.
- If a game is too entertaining, then both teams will forfeit the game and will be issued a loss to their record.
- All teams with fierce animal logos must change them to something less offensive. The Broncos must change their name to the Ponies, the Seahawks to the SeaGulls, the Jaguars to the Little Kittens, the Rams to the Nudges, the Dolphins... well, they will stay the Dolphins, the Bears to the Care Bears, etc.
- Instant replay is now reviewable for instant replay.
- The League is considering doing away with kicking and punting in games. They feel that this action is too violent toward the ball and is not sending the right message to the League's fans.
- Overtime was also on the agenda and Franchise Owners have decided that they want to change the format. If the game is tied at the end of regulation, both teams will partake in a game of freeze tag. In playoff games, if the game is still tied after freeze tag, then a a game of Connect Four will take place and the winner of that will advance.
The next NFL season is right around the corner and with these new rules every year, it makes me more and more excited for it.
And by it, I mean basketball season.