There will never come a time when the NFL doesn’t look to make some sort of rule change to the greatest sport on earth. It always amazes me that they have meetings about meetings about possible changes, followed by decisions that may or may not be final. All joking aside, the possible changes to this list of the NFL rules aren’t half bad. Like any other know-it-all however, I would make some tweaks to their proposed changes of the rules.
Knee & Thigh Pads - Outside of the players and the owners, no one cares about this. I personally won’t lose one wink of sleep over this “issue”. Have you ever been watching a game with your friends and said “Geez Mike, that Ray Rice is insane. Where does he get off not having a cushion-like type of device protecting his thigh?” Everyone has had a boss at one point or another that has micromanaged them. That’s basically what is going on here or you could call it babying. Management wants their employees to be as safe as possible *cough cough bullshit cough cough. Some of the players feel restricted by the knee and thigh pads and others just don’t feel as fast. The truth is that the owners want to protect their investments and think that this will lengthen the life of their hottest commodities. At the end of the day it should be the player’s decision. If there are players that feel their performance will lack due to having pads in their pants, whether subconscious or not, it could cost them money or a job. We’ve wasted enough time on knee and thigh pads, moving on…
Trade Deadline - In a headline that should have been written years ago, the NFL may finally get the trade deadline moved from week six to week eight. The NFL doesn’t want to give any team a competitive advantage by having the trade deadline so deep in the season that they could acquire talent from a lesser team that has nothing to play for. An example from last year would be the Indianapolis Colts. Indy dismantled their whole organization in 2011. If there wasn’t a trade deadline then a team on the verge of the playoffs could have picked from the Indy scraps and found a key missing element that could have helped with a playoff push. Indy in return would have probably secured future gain by adding a draft pick for the 2012 season. It’s a win-win for the teams involved but every other team on the outside would be cheated.
All that being said, having the deadline end before most teams have even had their bye week is being a little over cautious. That’s like wearing three condoms and having your date leave her spandex pants on for fear of creating offspring that winds up with her facial features. Obviously, the move to week eight is a no-brainer. I would still prefer to see it pushed back even further. I’ve always believed that week 10 is the perfect fit. The majority of the bye weeks are finished and teams won’t get an extra off week to allow their top players recoup. With only six weeks left in the season, teams would know if they should take their chances with the injured player or trade for his replacement due to having a legitimate shot at the postseason. I also feel that most teams are still alive after 10 weeks of the NFL season. Each team has six divisional games and two wildcard spots to play for and unless they are Indianapolis and trying to Suck for Luck, these front offices will cling to every last hope of reaching the playoffs.
Injured Reserve - Here’s another change that is long overdue. If a player was going to miss significant time in past years, teams would have to weigh the options of either keeping him active and wasting his roster spot for months or placing him on injured reserve and losing him for the remainder of the year but getting to fill his roster spot. Now, they are considering allowing teams to place one player on injured reserve who doesn’t count against the active roster but still can come back to practice after six weeks and play in live game action after eight weeks. The rule is that the player would have had to come to training camp healthy and then sustain a severe, football injury after joining the team. Any other players that are placed on injured reserve (IR) will be out for the remainder of the season per the rule already in place. Okay, so they got this one partially right as well. The NFL doesn’t want teams “hiding” players on IR and that’s why they are only willing to allow one critical player to come back in that same season. The reasons a team would want to hide a player are numerous.
Let’s say that a certain team is deep at wide receiver. This same team also picked up a few developmental receivers in the draft and as undrafted free agents. The head coach may want to go with his veterans at the beginning of the season, but knows that they are injury prone. If there was a limitless amount of players that could come back to play mid season and not count against the roster, coaching staffs would pile a ton of them up on IR. Say that one of the veteran receivers went down, now the rookie has had eight weeks to develop and the team is comfortable with him stepping in without missing a beat. It allows the teams to keep talented players without them getting snagged off the practice squad. It also deepens the roster past the active players and the practice squad.
Injuries are a part of the game and most fans want to see the most fair and competitive outcome to games and the season. Teams that get hit hard by fluke injury bugs throughout the roster cause a domino effect of unfair play. Each team that plays that team after its roster is depleted or is in the same division as that team, will get a unique and substantial advantage over other teams that had to face that same team at its max ability or face other teams that aren’t depleted. I think that three people is a fair number for the IR rule change. Anymore and it could defeat the purpose of fair play. Any less and they’re putting a band aid on a bullet wound.