With the Vikings having apparently gone into a little mini-hibernation, I thought now might be a good time to address some other stuff going on in the NFL, namely the rule changes and other adjustments the powers-that-be have put into effect or are planning in the near future. The big talker among these changes is the proposal to add a 17th and perhaps 18th game to the schedule. The 18-game plan would evidently mean pushing the Super Bowl back to the middle of February, and – the good news – doing away with a couple of preseason games. Personally, I think reducing the exhibition schedule to two games is something the league should consider regardless of whether they can talk the union and owners into expanding the regular season, and I’m heartened to hear that Roger Goodell thinks 4 exhibition games is excessive (it shows good common sense).
As for expanding the regular season…well, I love me some NFL football, so two more meaningful games per year only sounds like more gravy on top of my mouth-watering mashed potatoes and savory roast beef. The only real argument I’ve heard anyone conjure against it is that playing even deeper into the winter might give an absurdly unfair advantage to cold-weather teams. Which sounds to me like perfect motivation for the Vikings to get themselves an outdoor stadium, and return to olden times when such an advantage spelled four Super Bowl trips for the franchise.
Another big talker, at least for a couple of days, was the new rule stating that defensive players will be assessed a penalty if they lunge at a quarterback’s knees from the ground, a change precipitated by Tom Brady‘s season-ending 2008 injury. This is, by my count, the second time an incident involving Tom Brady has resulted directly in a new rule, the first being the infamous play from the 2001 AFC title game that brought about the so-called “tuck rule.” The power of Tom Brady is clearly infinite and should not be trifled with. Every effort should be made to assure that Brady remains on the field – in fact, I think the league doesn’t go far enough. I think snipers should be stationed in the stands, and if any defensive player gets too close to Brady or threatens his person in any way, they should immediately be taken down. I think top scientists should be recruited to develop a Tom Brady force field that not only repels lunging defenders but also protects Tom from airborne pathogens, crazed female stalkers and dive-bombing birds.
One change I am glad about is the adjustment to the replay rule that will allow review of plays like the controversial one last year that got Ed Hochuli in hot water and seemed, for a time, to have completely ruined the Chargers‘ season (lucky for them the Broncos stunk and they were able to recover and win the division). Of course, this new review policy has been christened “the Ed Hochuli Rule.” Congratulations to Ed on having his ineptitude immortalized for all-time. And boy am I glad I will never have to worry about the Vikings getting screwed because of an unreviewed fumble/incomplete pass call…or a cheap shot to their quarterback’s knees. I’ll sleep like a baby now.