I know I said last week’s Surviving Sunday was the last until the Packers 2014 season ends, but I’m kind of down about the Jared Abbrederis injury and don’t feel like cranking out 500 words about Khyri Thornton, Richard Rodgers or some other Packers player we should probably wait until after a couple preseason games to even begin evaluating.
So, I’m reneging on my promise to shelve Surviving Sunday until 2015 and bringing it back one more time in 2014, mostly to get some random, whacked out thoughts out of my NFL brain and onto your screen.
NFL referee Ed Hochuli was at Packers training camp this week and shared some news about stricter enforcement of pass interference rules this season.
I hate how far the NFL game is tilted toward offenses these days. I know I sound like an old man in full “get-off-my-lawn” mode, but I don’t care. I miss the days when it was OK to nail the quarterback and receivers were taking a risk when reaching out for that pass over the middle.
I also miss the game-within-a-game played by receivers and defensive backs. A crafty DB could push the boundaries of illegal contact or pass interference just far enough to throw a receiver off his route without drawing a flag. If Hochuli is to be believed, those days might be over.
A good defense is still a good defense, regardless of rules changes. The great ones adapt. But Hochuli’s words earlier this week reminded me of just how much I miss the days when defenses could play without one arm tied behind their back.
I know the days or defensive freedom are long gone and never returning. If you think Roger Goodell and the NFL will be loosening the reigns on defense anytime soon, you’re whacked.
Here are a few other ideas about the NFL that are whacked, but at least make you think a little bit. These are all just random thoughts running through my head. I’m not endorsing any of these ideas or realistically expecting them to actually happen, but they will probably make for some interesting Sunday conversation (and hopefully a chuckle or two).
I have a 9-month-old son, and while I’d like to take him to his first Packers game as soon as possible, it probably won’t realistically happen for at least a couple of years. When we go to games, we need to either get a babysitter, or leave our son with grandma and grandpa.
Both options are feasible, but not all new parents have relatives nearby or a babysitter on call to watch their kid(s) for an entire day while you’re drinking beer and yelling at grown men in tight pants throwing around an odd-shaped leather ball. Plus, if you’re like me, you want to make sure your kid starts absorbing all that is great about the Packers and football as early as possible, even if the kid is still too young to sit through an entire live game.
That’s why NFL teams should offer in-stadium daycare. Parents can bring their kids to the stadium, tailgate and hang out before kickoff, then drop off their kid at the in-stadium daycare during the game.
Instead of worrying about how little Junior is doing with the 14-year-old you hired to watch him, you can focus all your attention on the game. If you want to check on your kid, you just pop into the in-stadium daycare and make sure everything is alright. You can even bring your kid out into the stadium every now and then to see their first Aaron Rodgers touchdown pass or Morgan Burnett blown coverage.
NFL owners, money-grubbing rascals that they are, should embrace this idea. Have you seen daycare prices lately? They are outrageously expensive. NFL teams could charge an arm and a leg to watch your kid during the game and a lot of people would pay it.
Plus it helps NFL teams begin the indoctrination process at an early age. For example, one of the activities at the Lambeau Field daycare would be teaching the youngsters how to sing the “The Bears Still Suck” or how to ask “How many Super Bowls has your team won?” when annoying Vikings or Lions fans start spouting off at the mouth.
To me, in-stadium NFL daycare is a no-brainer.
Were people more upset about the fact that Ray Rice knocked out his wife? Or were they more upset about the lack of adequate punishment handed down by the NFL?
In my opinion, the lack of adequate punishment caused much more of an uproar than the actual crime. I’m not saying people didn’t care about what Rice did, but the incident was already off people’s radar. What brought it zooming back into the spotlight and has kept it there for more than a week is the fact that the NFL “only” suspended Rice for two games.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell seems to think he’s improving the NFL’s image by acting as judge and jury whenever players break the law. I’m not so sure he is.
People seem to accept the fact that a certain number of NFL players are going get arrested and do dumb things. People don’t like it, but they’ve accepted it. When a player gets arrested, people grumble, shake their heads, then move on and continue preparing for their fantasy football draft.
What drags the NFL’s image down is the extra round of press, and in cases like the Rice situation, the outrage that follows after the NFL issues punishment.
So what if Goodell just says the hell with it and declares that the NFL will no longer be fining and suspending players for off-field transgressions?
“From now on, I’m here to oversee football, not what players do off the field,” Goodell would say at the news conference announcing this radical shift. “I’m not endorsing misbehavior, but I’m sick of getting dragged through the mud when fans, media and social media mobs think my punishments are too harsh, too lenient or too whatever.”
If the commissioner did this, I wouldn’t necessarily agree with the move, but I’d understand his overall point.
I was at the Packers-Vikings tie last season. It sucked. Four hours of trash talking your Vikings friends and getting all jazzed up about the Packers comeback, and it all ends in…nothing.
Ties need to be eliminated from the NFL (from all sports, really). However, NFL games are already too long. Nobody wants to see a four-hour game go five hours if nobody wins after the first overtime. So, here’s how NFL overtime needs to be overhauled.
- Keep the current overtime rules as they are, but shorten the overtime period to 10 minutes.
- If the game remains tied after those 10 minutes, then the first team to make a “positive play” wins.
- What’s a “positive play?” Let’s say the Packers and Vikings are tied after overtime. The home team would be given the ball at the 50-yard line and would have to pick up a first down to win the game.
- However, if the team with the ball doesn’t gain at least 3 yards per play in its pursuit of a first down, then the defense wins the game.
- So, the Packers get the ball on the 50. Rodgers hits Nelson for six yards. The game continues. Next play, Lacy runs for 5 yards, the Packers get a first down and win the game.
- Now let’s say the Packers get the ball on the 50 and Rodgers is sacked on the first play. The Vikings win since they prevented the Packers from gaining at least 3 yards.
- There would also be a special teams option. The home can decide if it would like to kick off or receive a kick off instead of playing offense. If the receiving team returns the ball to the 22 yard line, the receiving team wins. If the kicking teams stops the returner before the 22, the kicking team wins.
- A touch back means the receiving team gets the ball at the 50.
- The kicking team wins if the kicker kicks the ball through the goalposts on the kickoff.
This is a genius idea. Make it happen, NFL.
If NFL refs are really going to get stricter about calling downfield contact, games will go from already-too-long, to oh-my-God-NFL-games-are-now-longer-than-baseball-games-and-I-want-to-stab-myself long.
Games can be shortened ever so slightly if the NFL would eliminate its stupid policy or running a commercial after a team scores, then running another commercial immediately after the ensuing kickoff.
This drives me crazy. I could maybe forgive the NFL for putting handcuffs on defenses if they stop this maddening strategy.——————
Adam Czech is a a freelance sports reporter living in the Twin Cities and a proud supporter of American corn farmers. When not working, Adam is usually writing about, thinking about or worrying about the Packers. Follow Adam on Twitter. Twitter .