Welcome to What Are They Smokin’? A semi-weekly column questioning sports stars and those within the sports world over their latest, ahem, antics.
Think of how fun it would be to sit around all day coming up with new rules for the NFL. Now, imagine how fun that brainstorming session would be if they were also passing around a joint, trying to one-up each other with more and more outlandish rule changes.
Well, that seemingly happened with the 32 NFL teams this offseason. The football squads have submitted their proposed rule changes for discussion and approval at 2017 NFL Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona this week.
Some of the rule changes make a lot of sense—like Philadelphia’s proposal to allow a third challenge if any of the team’s first two challenges are won. However, some new additions are incredibly ridiculous.
In this week’s edition of “What Are They Smokin’?” we rank the NFL’s five most ridiculous rule change proposals.
- Reduces the length of preseason and regular season overtime periods to 10 minutes.
The thinking behind this rule is that the five less minutes in overtime will contribute to better player recovery, while it comes off as a lame PR attempt to calm fears of player safety. If it passes, all this rule will do is increase the amount of ties during the regular season.
And before you ask: Yes, there are, in fact, ties in the NFL. Even if NFL players famously don’t know that.
- Makes it Unsportsmanlike Conduct to commit multiple fouls during the same down designed to manipulate the game clock.
This rule would make it illegal for a team to, say, hold multiple receivers in order to run the clock at the end of a quarter or half. This rule is essentially the anti-49ers rule, after San Francisco committed multiple holding penalties against the Saints.
This is obviously bad news for the 49ers, as that was their best play of the entire 2016 season.
This is also terrible news for NFL fans. This was one of the funniest moments of the year, and the league is taking this from us too. If we can’t have fun touchdown celebrations, at least let the fans have a crazy play or two at the end of the half.
- Permit clubs to opt out of the “color rush” jerseys created for hursday Night Football.
This rule was proposed by Washington and their explanation was classic: “Garish uniforms.”
Once again the Washington football club is being ridiculous. Sure, the “color rush” jerseys are eyesores that can either make your retinas bleed or cause color-blind folks confusion about which team is which. But “Thursday Night Football” is already so awful that we might as well make the need for comically bad football even more cartoonish with jerseys that are created solely for shock and awe and, of course, money.
- Allow teams to wear an alternate helmet during the year
Now this is a rule I can get behind. Teams have alternate jerseys, so why not alternate helmets too?
It’d be super dope to see the classic Raiders helmet changed to invert the colors. Or maybe they go with a Jack Sparrow pirate theme? Probably not, but hey, it’s fun to think about.
In fact, why stop there?
NFL teams should take a page out of Oregon’s book and have so many effin jerseys that fans can’t even keep up.
Think of the possibilities. Every week there could be a weekly jersey unveiling on Twitter, or shit, maybe the NFL Network makes it a two-hour weekly show with 27 commercial breaks.
And, as long as the jerseys aren’t as terrible as the “color rush” ones, they should be able to sell more and more jerseys at a higher volume. This is such a great idea that I’m surprised the NFL hasn’t hired me yet.
- Moves the line of scrimmage to the 20-yard line for any touchback where the free kick travels through the uprights.
While Washington might have proposed some of the worst rules this offseason, they have also provided the best, and most unreal, proposal of the year.
Before player safety became the biggest problem the NFL has faced in the past quarter decade, the kickoff was one of the most exciting plays in the game. Now that it’s been proven to be one of the most violent plays in a game, it’s been reduced to a nearly obsolete occurrence.
This rule change would bring some much-needed excitement back to the kickoff since we won’t be seeing the likes of Devin Hester returning kicks for touchdowns at such a high rate.
Shoot, this is such a fun idea that the NFL should add even more stipulations. Why not add an extra five yards for every crossbar that a kicker hits?
It’d be an NFL fan (and kicker’s) dream.