It is more apparent by the day that the chances of the NFL kicking off in September are not good. An NFL lockout could hold up the season for months. But all is not lost as a new deal is a great opportunity to implement some much needed changes to the greatest sport in the world.
I am one of those NFL fans that live for football. Thursday, Saturday, Monday, or Sunday I do my best to clear my schedule and put myself in front of my television with as little distraction as possible to soak in the greatness of the National Football League. Yet even in the greatness of watching a classic game-winning drive, there are still a few opportunities at improvement that would make this game as close to perfect as possible. It is time for the NFL and the NFLPA to make those improvements and take the game and its broadcasts from almost perfect to unequivocal perfection.
1 – Players will be penalized for complaining to a referee about a hold or interference. As tough as NFL players are and they are arguably the toughest, they are looking more and more like babies with the amount of complaining they do. Sometimes I feel like I am watching a preschool game when I say player after player scream at the referee about a hold, a pulled jersey, pass interference, or whatever on every single play!
Here is the deal. I don’t doubt you were interfered with or held but guess what? NFL officials aren’t judges who make decisions based on someone pleading their case. Yes I get it, you want to let the official know so he can look for it on the next play but it is getting past the point of ridiculous. If the referee doesn’t see it, it never happened…period. The constant crying and whining has just got to stop because it is starting to get truly nauseating.
2 – Censor broadcasters who give players undeserving nicknames, re: Matty Ice. I have about it with an announcer that comes up with a nickname for a rookie or young player that hasn’t even won a playoff game! What can the NFL do? Well for one in their next television deal they can put this clause in the contract. It is easy and I never have to hear a QB that hasn’t even won a playoff game given a nickname for his ability to remain cool under pressure again.
3 – Fine players who celebrate tackles, first downs, touchdowns, and sacks if their team is either a) down 14 or more points at home and/or b) has not won more than three games after the tenth game of the season. Even more annoying than the players who jump up and down crying like babies about a missed hold are the players who celebrate a sack when their team sucks or is losing by more than two touchdowns at home. If you are down more than two touchdowns at home, your fans could care less about meaningless touchdown (Ochocinco) or your first down which also happens to be your first and only catch in the game (Roy Williams). Hey let’s make this real easy and just send this memo directly to the Cincinnati Bengals and the Dallas Cowboys.
4 – Immediately pull a broadcaster off the air who tells me a rookie or young player is going to be great before they have played an entire season. Even more annoying than the broadcaster who tries to give a guy a nickname before he has earned it is the broadcaster who tells me how great a player is going to be after they have only played half a season. Generally this happens with quarterbacks and it was probably at an all time high this past season with Tim Tebow. Hey, he was a great college player but the kid hadn’t even taken a snap yet in the NFL before Jon Gruden was telling us on Monday night how great he was going to be. That is just ridiculous. Same goes with Matt Ryan in his rookie year, Sam Bradford, Tony Romo, and anyone not named Jimmy Clausen. I have watched plenty of games where a young NFL QB can’t complete a pass or escape a sack when I am told, “He’s going to be a great one. He’ll be fine.” You are paid to give us analysis and if you have the ability to analyze someone’s career in three games then you should be a medium because you are certainly in the wrong business.
5 – Don’t air crappy games in my market just because my team is off and the Redskins happen to be a few hours away. There is nothing more frustrating as an NFL fan than looking at a schedule, seeing a ton of great games, and then turning on your television to see the Redskins vs. Buccaneers or 49ers vs. New York Giants just because they happen to be the closest teams to your market. Use your head! If the Eagles are off or play on Monday night, give me an elite game and let’s end this charade of having to air teams close to your market. God help those Chargers fans who are stuck between the Raiders, 49ers, and Seahawks when the San Diego Chargers are dormant.
That is it. Five simple rule changes to the broadcasts and the players can go a long way in making the game a lot more tolerable at times, especially during blowouts and mismatches. If every challenge presents an opportunity, get this done and I can overlook a few weeks of missed games.