Sunday, September 13, 2015

Re-run Sunday: NFL needs armless linemen

Are you ready for some football? Me, neither. Steelers are off today and the Pirates are in the thick of a pennant race. I still maintain the biggest problem with the NFL is over-officiating. They dominate, slow and ruin the game. This ’11 post offers one solution (others linked below): armless linemen! Yes, armless linemen would cut down on holding.

Have a great Sunday, my friends!

Tune in tomorrow when, barring any unforeseen adventures, I intend to write about our ugliest presidents. Yes, Donald Trump continues to inspire.

It was another weekend of the ruling elite infuriating the 99 percent of Americans who feel helpless about doing anything in the face of tyrannical oppression.

I’m talking about the officiating in the NFL.

We can disagree about income disparity, presidential politics and whether God’s playing favorites with the Denver Broncos because Tim Tebow’s such a Savior suck up (my take, “Jesus, Tebow’s a winner”).

But I think we can all agree NFL over-officiating is ruining the game. Calls are excessive and confusing and now every scoring play is under review. That makes sense until you realize the next logical step is reviewing goal line plays that don’t involve scoring but, upon further review, might have.

Some fans say this is good because getting it right is essential.

Well, no, it isn’t. If it was, we’d have cameras isolating every single player to ensure they weren’t committing an infraction.

What’s essential is getting it as close to right as possible without making the games last even longer than they already do.

You may not have noticed amidst all the beer and truck commercials, but the typical 3:15 minute football broadcast has just 11 minutes of action.

That’s right. This January 2010 Wall Street Journal report found the ball is in play for just 11 minutes. That means for every 60-minute game we’re getting 49 minutes of foreplay.

That’s a lot of teasing anticipation for a game that considers itself manly.

Speaking of foreplay, let me get to the point and -- fear not -- this won’t take long. I’m one to talk when it comes to delivering a full 11 minutes of satisfying action.

I have several radical solutions to over-officiating.

First, get rid of instant replay and all but two officials -- one for the offense, one for the defense -- and ask the players to agree to play under the honor system.

That means if a player commits a foul, he needs to raise his hand and confess his sins. Then he needs to apologize to the player he’s victimized while one of the two referees steps off the penalty yardage.

Introducing a player honor system would flip the culture of showboating and finger pointing on its head and provide exemplary role models for an America starving for them.

My friend Ron at the bar has a good suggestion. He usually does. In fact, he’s the inspiration for many of these posts. If Ron ever decides to give full sobriety a shot I might have to spend half my time blogging about something like gardening.

He suggests changing the rules so the only time a penalty is called is when a player uses both hands. This would eliminate many questionable calls.

But this has about as much chance of succeeding as does players conforming to the honor system -- although it would be hilarious to see the reaction to insufferable goody-goody Roger Goodell announcing the change.

Using just one hand goes against a lineman’s nature. We need something to ensure a player can’t use either hand in blocking.

We need armless linemen.

Every 11 man squad should have five lineman who for the good of the game have either lost or had team-approve doctors sever the limbs above the elbow.

I haven’t looked into, but I imagine there is a deep pool of armless and otherwise able-bodied men who have fought and sacrificed in our recent wars.

The flag wavers at the NFL should jump on this. This would be giving our disabled vets a place to excel where we can honor their service and allow them to be shining examples that nothing can stop men so motivated.

And think of what it would do to our fighting forces. Imagine the heroic risks they’d take on the battlefield if just the right injury might lead to a spot on an NFL roster.

I offer this idea knowing full well it is controversial and will be picked apart by critics who fail to realize NFL over-officiating is killing the game.

I’m going to spend the rest of the day trying to resolve some of the more obvious questions.

And I promise to get right back to you as soon as I figure out how an armless center can snap a football.

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