May 8, 2014; New York, NY, USA; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on stage during the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Fixing the NFL: RP’s proposed rule changes

As the owners have proposed a set of rule changes for the upcoming NFL season, I’ve come up with a list of my own things the NFL should change to make the game better. Of course, along with that, I have to include some of the proposed rule changes and ideas that the NFL has been flirting with that I don’t necessarily care for, such as moving the extra point back. So here’s what I’d keep the same and what I’d change in terms of NFL rules and policies if I were Roger Goodell and the NFL competition committee.

I would keep the same:

The playoffs. No playoff expansion.

There’s nothing wrong with how it is now. With 32 teams, the best 12 make the playoffs, and that’s how it should be. Randomly adding two teams doesn’t accomplish much – yeah, it does increase the likelihood of a Wild Card winning it all, but seven teams from each conference is just a little… weird. The NFL would become more like the NBA, where there’s little parity; 16 of 30 teams make the postseason. The fewer the teams in the postseason, the more exciting the end of the regular season is.

Regular season and preseason format.

The NFL should absolutely not expand the regular season to eighteen games and shorten the preseason. I like the 16 game format, and the four-game preseason format is just right. Eighteen games just seems like a little much, and you have to worry about injuries with an extra two weeks in the regular season.

The extra point.

Although PATs barely get blocked, I wouldn’t move them from where they are. Moving them back doesn’t make any sense, and I feel like the NFL simply wants to change things up rather than enhance the game.


Kickoffs are instrumental part of the game. There’s no reason to remove them. Special teams are so exciting, and removing a big part of the game would make the game less interesting to players and fans.

The Pro Bowl.

The game is fun. It was exceptional in January. There was actually some defense played! The game should remain in Hawaii; for players who don’t necessarily care for the game, at least they get a good vacation.


Changes I propose:

Expand instant replay for penalties: defensive players should not be flagged for visually unintentional hits to the head.

If both a receiver and a defender duck to avoid a big collision and end up smashing helmets, there’s nothing the defensive player can do about it. It shouldn’t be flagged. Officials should have the ability to go to replay and see if the hit looked unintentional; if so, the defensive player shouldn’t be flagged.

Centralized play reviews.

Let the NFL review all controversial calls in their New York headquarters. That would be more efficient as it’ll probably save some time, and the NFL would ensure that the correct call is made.

Stop selling beer at 10:00 left in the third quarter.

This would give most fans just enough time to sober up before driving home. In most NFL stadiums, teams stop selling beer right before the start of the fourth quarter. While NFL teams and stadiums themselves decide this, the NFL competition committee or Roger Goodell himself could have a say.

The Draft in April.

An extra two weeks into May is too long. I personally didn’t like it, and it’s a little too close to OTAs in terms of the schedule. If Radio City Music Hall isn’t available in April, the NFL should move the draft to the Jerry Dome (well, AT&T Stadium, as it’s called now).

The challenge system.

I strongly dislike how the challenge system works now. I propose that if a coach wins only one of his first two challenges, he gets another. If he wins both of his initial challenges, he keeps getting another challenge until he doesn’t win. So even if a coach goes three for three, he can keep challenging plays until he loses one.

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  • Kevin Smith

    I got a crazy idea. Run the nfl season kinda like college BB, all non-division games first, then the last 6 weeks are all against division teams. The records from those six weeks determine the divisional playoff teams and wildcards go to the top two remaining teams in each conference with the best overall records. If there is a tie for a division either a divisional playoff game or overall record breaks the tie. Then the regular playoffs run as usual with the exception that the seeds (and consequent byes) are determined solely by overall record and not on a wildcard/division winner basis.

    • Rishi Pochiraju

      I’ve actually thought about the NFL going to a format like that. Last 6 games — all divisional games. Something more plausible would be to have the first and last three weeks against division teams.

  • Amar S.

    Proposed rule: Fire Goodell

    On another note, I really like your idea about stop selling beer at 3rd QTR. That, or increase the price after that time period to prevent sales, then stop selling all together at 4th QTR.

    • Robert Fairbanks

      1) Better yet, have people learn proper social conduct.
      2) Goodell is the one that is trying to keep the hoodlums in line.

  • Old Frog

    They are discussing eliminating kick offs? That’s absurd. It’s bad enough safeties can longer jack up
    “defenseless” receivers as soon as they touch the ball. Football is supposed to be dangerous. Last man standing I say. Let the toughest most intimidating team prevail. But that was then and this is now. The game is only going to get softer in the future because the NFL wants their stars to stay on the field and keep ratings up.

    • Rishi Pochiraju

      They were talking about just having the offense start on the 25 yard line of every drive, kind of like in the Pro Bowl. And instead of onside kicks, the offense can run one play (it would be a 4th and 15 or something like that) from their own side of the field, and if converted, it would be the same as a successful onside kick. I personally don’t like that at all… kickoffs are too exciting and important to the game.

      • Bob Sansing

        One thing that has been bugging me for years is the pass interference
        rule that puts the ball where the foul occurred. Sometimes that can be a
        50+ yard penalty, which is why the QB often throws the ball long hoping
        for a penalty. That’s too big a temptation to keep trying it. Instead
        they should do what they do in college ball and make it a 15 yard,
        automatic first down. That seems much fairer than what they do now.

  • Bobby Postma

    In my opinion I would disagree with you in the preseason games and the Extra point rule. I think they should eliminate 2 of the preseason games. People get injured in preseason as well and even sometimes in OTAs. (See Cowboys). I also would be in favor of moving the extra point. They are just to boring to watch. Move it back and people wilds keep their eyes on the TV longer. Also don’t like the idea of the challenge being unlimited as long as they win. They make one bad challenge and don’t get rewarded

    I do like the idea of the beer being sold later though, that is a smart safety move. Also you are right, keep the Damn Draft in april. I was going crazy this year waiting.

    • Rishi Pochiraju

      In terms of the preseason, 2 games is just too short when it comes to coaches evaluating players. There are 90 guys that need to be cut down to 53, and two weeks is a little too short to do so. Now if the NFL does actually shorten the preseason, I wouldn’t mind it only if they don’t expand the regular season.

  • Joe Carter

    A sack is a sack. When the defense has the qb on the run let him toss the ball out of bounds to end the play, but the point of release is the new line of scrimage

    • Natedogg265

      Doesn’t that already happen, just with a flag?

      Loss of down and the spot of the foul?

  • Whipstur

    The draft order should be deturmened by the record for the last 2 years.

  • ahrcshaw

    I do not see much room for any new rules, maybe the beer cut off, but other then that leave it alone. The problem with the College schedule is the Colleges schedule warm up games to prevent losses in most cases.

  • Erockalypse

    Kickoffs are not something that can be taken away without serious affects to the game itself. sometimes the whole tide of the game can change from a return or a fumble recovery on a kickoff. I for one will be rather irritated if they’re removed entirely.

  • Natedogg265

    So basically changed nothing. Most of the ideas they have proposed are horrible.

  • William Plaster

    Why cannot the NFL use the same type replay that is used in college ball? The official looking into the huge hood covering the screen is idiotic. Also, why so much time for review? If the fans and commentators can see what occurred, why cannot the official on the field?

  • John Branchard

    Stop selling beer early? What is wrong with all of you. I am a 40 year old man who behaves responsibly. If I or anyone else is old enough to drink then who the he** are you to tell me how to handle myself in a social situation? Beer is allowed in stadiums, no? These types of rules are what restricts us as US citizens. I should be able to drink beer until I leave. And you should be happy I am paying $9.00 per beer while financially and verbally supporting for my team. Now if I get out of hand then you can have a problem. This country is full of pansy a** sissies anymore! And if you don’t agree, then you likely are the sensitive one.

    Playoffs changes are about money, kickoff returns are about money (saving on future safety lawsuits). Like the idea of the centralized reviews in NY, but then what good is it to have the umpires on the field? Plus as a dolphins fan I suspect the NY centralized reviewers will have cheating scandals. Wouldn’t trust a playoff review from NY if my life depended upon it.

  • Johnny

    I agree with the proposed 18 team playoffs… Why not let everybody play in the playoffs??? WTF… That’s not competitive to let more then half the teams in the NFL make it to the playoffs… Keep it as is..
    Also don’t like the May Draft..

    Why don’t these people leave the game alone!!!! They already messed up the KIs by moving them up and resulting in ALOT of touchbacks… It’s fun (and part if the game) to give the Recieving team a chance to run back the ball.. There’s 3 phases in Football.. Offense, Defense, and Special Teams… And they took away from STs already…

    Stop messing around with “The Game”.. And with all these ridulous penalties.. Pretty soon this will be Flag Football!!!
    Safety, Safety, Safety!!!

    These guys get paid Millions of Dollars to get hit.. They knew what they were signing up for by signing on the dotted line… (For 10s of Millions of Dollars)
    I signed on the dotted line when I joined the Military… I was shot at and caught some shrap FOR ALOT LESS MONEY!!!

  • Jason

    Do you drink? Cutting the drinking off at the 10 minute mark isn’t going to give enough time to sober up… the average male will blow .08 after 2 beers.. which is the national average for dui. The average male reduces his blood alcohol by .2 per hour. So 3 beers is .12 and 2 hours will still make u a dui on your drive home… and who only drinks 3 between tailgating and the 1st half especially if your team isn’t any good

    • RyansDad

      I don’t drink that crap at all – and I really enjoy the games

  • Keith Ward

    Make the pro bowl mean something.winning conference gets ectra time out in next superbowl

  • Greg Hill

    I propose fair and equal disciplinary actions against those who violate league rules. For example, a Miami player tweets OMG in reference to gay player kissing his boyfriend and gets suspended and forced to attend diversity training. The colts owner is arrested with drugs and intoxicated several months ago and the NFL has done nothing. Ray Rice punches his girlfriend knocking her out in an elevator and then drags her by the hair. He also was arrested but what has the NFL done. Again, nothing. In two cases, laws were broken and the other no laws were broken but received punishment. Politics have dictated who gets prosecuted and who doesn’t regardless of what they’ve done.