Last week, the NFL compiled a list of potential rule changes for the 2021 season. These proposed changes came from the NFL franchises; they’re attempting to spice up the show and make the game fairer. Talking about rules is dull; no fan enjoys listening to Dean Blandino pontificate on a Sunday afternoon. If I wanted to watch a clown on my TV, I’d switch to Aaron Rodgers hosting Jeopardy. Therefore, with this being Belly Up, it’s time to take a look at some rules that will spice up the NFL. We’re not ESPN, and I certainly don’t wish to get bogged down about forward motions and completed catches. So we need to take an alternative view, Belly Up style!
Rule Change Number One – The Coin Toss
Apart from Cricket, the coin toss is 200 years out of date in all modern sports. In the NFL, it’s even worse. The players sometimes don’t know what the call means, sometimes the coin doesn’t even flip and don’t get me started on the Foot Locker salesmen. The coin toss is as dull as spending dinner with a Vikings fan. There is only one way to rectify it. Instead of a coin toss, each teams’ mascots should fight each other in an MMA cage. The winner gets the call, and the mascot makes the decision. Not the team captains. Kevin Harlan commentating on a pre-game fight between a Bronco and New England’s Flying Elvis is must-watch TV. It’s a hell of a lot better than watching Boomer Esiason sell us a game between the Texans and Jags.
Rule Change Number Two – Going For It
Going for it on fourth-down is more common in the NFL than ever before. Coaches are trawling to the back of their playbooks to find a creative play to call. There’s one way to take this to the next level. If coaches elect to go for it, they must insert themselves onto the playing field. Therefore, Dan Campbell can come in as a blocking tight end, Bill Belichick can play at center, and Mike Vrabel could become the fullback. Some coaches believe in their play-calling too much. It’s time to see if they can back it up on the field. Part of me also wishes to see Mike McCarthy run a deep-post route for my entertainment.
Rule Change Number Three – It’s Time to Raise the Bar
Punters and kickers are not Football players. They’re the guys that go stag at Senior Prom because they’re too lame to ask a girl to the dance. The NFL needs to lessen the impact of these players. The way to do that is to add a deterrent. If I were all-conquering emperor of the pigskin pastime, I would raise the height of the crossbar every time a team elects to punt or settle for a field goal. However, that is not the only thing.
If a team decides to punt, and the subsequent punt travels 43 yards, the crossbar will rise by 43 yards. It will finally challenge these freeloaders to work hard. It also means that the Chicago Bears are in a very tough spot. Andy Dalton will force the team into fourth-down territory a lot; therefore, the Bears may punt a lot. Which will raise the crossbar, and then we’re in Double-Doink land. Popcorn sales in Detroit, Minnesota and Green Bay will surge with this rule change.
Rule Change Number Four – Coaches Challenge
Our fourth option is a simple rule change. Throwing a red flag looks as weak as camping on Call of Duty. It needs changing, and I’m proposing the following idea: instead of throwing a flag, the head coach must throw a Football at the referee’s family jewels. The benefits are two-fold here; the referee takes a football to his baby-making balls, and the entire world gets to laugh at the referee. TV networks always cut to commercial during a challenge; with this ground-breaking idea, no network will go to the adverts ever again. I mean, how often can one watch the M&M advert where he jumps into the sack with the guy’s wife.
Rule Change Number Five – Overtime
Regular season games that now finish as a tie must get decided with a round of Cornhole. After sitting through three hours of ad-breaks, stupid referees and sour Bud-Light beer, no one needs a convoluted, confusing finish to a tie game. Each team must select a representative to play Cornhole. Unlike the current NFL overtime rules, this rule change provides both teams with a chance. The world needs to watch Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers play Cornhole. In an ideal world, they’d both be drunk, although we did witness a drunk Brady, and that guy couldn’t find his way home to a naked Giselle. So that may not be the best idea.
Rule Change Number Six – Redressing the Balance
As an old-school Football guy, the game is now too soft. Offenses and quarterbacks get far too much protection from referees. The roughing the passer rule needs to get tossed into the middle of Lake Michigan. Conversely, smashing the quarterback must get encouraged by referees. Life is too easy for the modern quarterback; they need to get hit hard. No more penalties or flags for defensive ends flattening the passer; instead, it should get celebrated. Lastly, the NFL should reward the defenders with style points for how they sack the quarterback. Lawrence Taylor, Demarcus Ware and Reggie White would judge the competition. At the end of season awards, the player with the most style points would get crowned the year’s defensive MVP. As a final reward, the MVP would get a free shot to sack Roger Goodell.
Rule Change Number Seven – Body Double Substitution
As rule changes go, here is a simple one. Players can only get replaced by their doppelganger. It doesn’t matter if the doppelganger can play Football or not. It can be a random person from the street; as long as that person is the exact double of the player, it’s okay. It also provides me with the exciting proposition that fellow Belly Up writer Kendrick Lindsay may replace Baker Mayfield. After his ludicrous takes on Lebron James and Dan Campbell, I want to see Kendrick play quarterback while TJ Watt is coming after him.
Rule Change Number Eight – Gamebreaker
Rule changes must improve the game; otherwise, they are pointless. As pointless as Cowboys fans shouting, “this is our year.” The following rule change will make the NFL much better. We’re all aware of the terrible quarterbacks that play in the NFL. Nathan Peterman, Chase Daniel, Ben Roethlisberger, you get the idea. With all of the rubbish quarterbacks on show, the NFL must give their teams a helping hand. I’m putting forward the Gamebreaker rule. Gamebreaker mode was an unlockable level on the original FIFA Street. After maxing out the skill combo, a player unleashed Gamebreaker, which saw them release an unstoppable shot towards the goal.
The NFL can use this in reverse. If the terrible quarterbacks go a whole quarter without moving the chains, the team can use the Gamebreaker. It is a machine that combines the arm power of Patrick Mahomes, John Elway and Matthew Stafford, mixed with Drew Brees and Tom Brady’s accuracy. The device can make any throw. It is an unstoppable force. It ensures that games don’t descend into farcical blowouts. The NFL doesn’t want fans to switch over during a game to watch the 775th rerun of Friends. Who cares how good The One With the Late Thanksgiving was? The NFL is the only show in town.
Rule Change Number Nine – Home Advantage
The pandemic forced most teams to play without crowds. Hopefully, in 2021, the public will come back. Although, I feel we can take it up a notch. Each team should unleash the real-life version of their nicknames on the field if they are losing. Consequently, the Detroit Lions could let wild Lions loose on the area if they are down in the fourth quarter. Denver can use a field of stampeding Broncos; meanwhile, the Rams can run loose at SoFi Stadium. Whereas the Packers, the Football Team and Browns are at a significant disadvantage. Their nicknames suck. Lastly, the image of Dallas’ old man getting attacked by a flock of eagles is box office.
Rule Change Number Ten – The Draft
We finish with the peculiar game of Cricket and my favourite subject of mascots. Cricket is not known for innovation; the teams still play in all-white colours. Yet, it is responsible for one essential creation—the Mascot Derby. At the end of each domestic season in England, all the teams’ mascots run a race at the stadium. It is wildly hilarious, although it is very inconsequential. The NFL can change it by adding a new element; the draft! Tanking is too familiar in today’s game; my last act as commissioner is to announce a mascot derby between all 32 teams in the NFL.
The winner will get the first overall pick. Now, teams can’t hire short, fat guys desperate to earn their kids’ affection; they must sign real athletes ready to represent the franchise. The NFL should run the race during the half-time show at the Super Bowl. Yes, most of the audience wants to see Shakira’s hips; nevertheless, an audience wishes to watch a person dressed as a Bear race, a miserable Viking and a stupid Cowboy. If that doesn’t pull the viewers in, Roger, I don’t know what will.