Although he now covers the New York Giants for ESPN, every football fan should make it a point to keep up with what Graziano writes. He is informative, knowledgeable, and brutally honest in his writing. Recently Dan took a look at how the NFL could make the game better.
First up is, of course, the extra point. As Dan pointed out, the XP is boring and it delays commercial breaks which the NFL is loathe to do. After all selling ad time is one way they make money. That brings us to the options: either eliminate the boring element or find a way to add excitement to it. Graziano offers up some options including making the extra point automatic, extending kicking distance, and even giving the scoring team the option to try a longer kick for even more points. It is all food for thought.
In the article, Graziano also takes on some other scared cows from the league.
While dumb, the extra point isn't the dumbest thing the NFL does. So while we're opening up a discussion here about unnecessary things the NFL should consider changing, let's also take a look at ...
Among the things he suggests are eliminating the first down chains. This is the 21st century after all; technology now allows us to have a first down marker on our TV set at home, why can't the league figure out something similar to do at the stadium? Dan argues that the "accuracy" issue is irrelevant because the spot is still a judgement call by the official who can easily be 20 yards away at the time so why is the league so "hell-bent" on measuring the distance to the fraction of an inch? Heck, even though there is an exact 10 yards between the two sticks, the placement of the markers on the sidelines is still a judgement made by the chain crew.
He also took on the players' lobbying efforts. He proposes throwing a flag for players who routinely feel the need to add their input to the referee's conferences.
I'd come down real hard on the guys who are leaning in and listening to the officials' conversations when they're trying to get the call right after the play. I'm officiating an NFL game in front of 80,000 people with millions watching on TV who all think I'm an idiot already, the last thing I need is a couple of amped-up, 300-pound football players sticking their huge heads in there and telling me what they think the call should be.
My favorite issue that he brings up is spiking the ball to stop the clock. After all intentional grounding is a penalty most of the time. That only changes if someone is in a hurry. Teams get time outs, have the option to get out of bounds to stop the clock, etc. Why do they really need another option to slow down the action? Isn't the whole concept based on keeping the action going and building excitement?
Okay, folks, courtesy of Dan Graziano we have some suggestions to improve the game. I'm sure you have some other ideas that you would like to make, so even though Roger Goodell is not likely to call you up to get your input, we here at Blogging The Boys would like to know what you think. Post your suggested rules changes in the comments and let's toss them around.