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From the sidelines: ‘Football’ starting to get away from itself
Jan 23, 2014 | 1929 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Shane Gillet
Shane Gillet

With just two teams remaining in the National Football League playoffs, the 48th Super Bowl will commence on Sunday, Feb. 2 in what could be one of the better Super Bowls to date.

Denver, posting the best offense in the league and breaking a number of records this season in the passing game, will go up against the best secondary in the league.

The passing savvy of Peyton Manning against the Seattle pass defense is a good match up to look at. 

I also like the fact that there will be at least two Utah State players Р running back Robert Turbin and line backer Bobby Wagner Р in the game, and both play for my dad’s favorite team, the Seahawks.

This year’s family gathering for the big game will be a little difficult to sit through, as both my dad’s favorite team and my brother-in-law’s favorite team will be fighting for the Lombardi Trophy and the right to call themselves champions until next year’s playoffs. 

It likely won’t be the only place where get togethers will be awkward, either. 

I’ve talked previously on this space about how the Super Bowl is only getting bigger, better, and seeing more and more teams have a shot at upsetting other teams, despite the playoffs seemingly flawed system.

What I really want to talk about here is the National Football League itself, and how it’s slowly getting farther and farther away from what it used to be.

On the bottom line of the ESPN channel Monday night, it noted NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wants to make a few changes that could be made to the game by the 2015 season.

One that seems a little far-fetched is the elimination of the “point after touchdown” try, which allows a team to increase its point total by one (from six to seven) after scoring a touchdown.

Instead of opting for the kick or going for a two-point conversion, teams are automatically awarded seven points for a touchdown and have the “option” of adding another point by running another play. If the play fails, the point total is reduced to six for a touchdown, the current point total for all touchdowns scored.

Other rules that could be implemented are the addition of two more teams (one per conference) to the playoffs, increasing the total from 12 to 14 teams in all.

This argument has stemmed from teams winning their division getting into the playoffs with worse records than teams that didn’t win their division at all, but had a better overall record (this season, 8-7-1 Green Bay won its division and hosted a playoff game, while 10-6 Arizona was left out of the playoffs entirely).

The current solution isn’t the right one in my book, which I’ll explain briefly a bit later.

I can understand why a few changes are being mulled over by the NFL. Injury risks and concussion information gave the league enough of a push to place kickoffs back at the 35-yard line, where it used to be for many years. 

Rules regarding contact to the head and neck area, and contact between the defender and receiver, were also changed for the safety of the player. 

New technology has seemingly lowered the risk of concussions, and new protocols are now in place so that players must pass a “concussion test” before returning to the field.

All these things are good for the players, but some of the changes are taking the definition of football right out of the dictionary.

The extra point elimination is something I’d rather not see happen. New Orleans Saints fans know that an extra point cost the team a chance to get into the playoffs one year. 

Despite the near-automatic conversion rate, one missed attempt could be the difference between a win and a loss.

The playoff system is flawed, everyone is aware of that. An 8-7-1 team shouldn’t be allowed to host a playoff game, let alone be in the playoffs over a 10-6 team that didn’t win its division.

Adding another team will only add fuel to the fire of mediocre teams getting into the playoffs with less than a mediocre record.

That’s just the beginning of my argument, but suffice to say I won’t be happy about any of the changes should they be allowed to go through.

The game is getting a little better than it was, but these changes shouldn’t be made at all.


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