Off-season thoughts: New rules

I don’t get too wrapped up in the small rules changes that happen each NFL off-season, but there are two changes this year that I think will sacrifice some of the entertainment value of NFL football:

1.  All plays that might have been scoring plays and all turnovers will now automatically be reviewed.  Why is this a bad thing?  First, replay reviews slow down the game.  A football game now very rarely ends in less than 3 hours – this rule change will probably add a few more minutes to the average game length next year.  Secondly, it’s entertaining to watch coaches incorrectly challenge calls and makes for great post-game second guessing of decisions.  Thirdly, although you want to have every call correct, a few missed/incorrect calls adds some drama and intrigue (football is, after all, entertainment).  I want to see a perfectly officiated game, but in lieu of that, a game that ends in 3 hours with a bit of added drama isn’t a bad alternative.

2. Changing the OT rules – This is a subtle change to make overtime more fair to both teams and to align the rules for regular season and post-season games.  That sounds good, but dig a little deeper.  Overtime in the regular season will now last longer due to multiple possessions.  When overtime lasts longer, a likely outcome is an increase in tie games.  A four hour game that ends in a tie doesn’t make anyone happy.


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