Thursday, July 21, 2011
Commish for a day: Defensive help
By James Walker
Our divisional bloggers discuss one thing they'd change as commissioner for a day:
James Harrison and the Pittsburgh Steelers would not have disparaging remarks for me as NFL commissioner. In fact, Harrison would be happier and have a lot more money in his pocket if I were running the league.
The first thing I would do as NFL commissioner is veto the league's increased fines and penalties on big hits. Football has always been a very physical game, and that's a major reason why it's the most popular sport in America. Injuries are an occupational hazard and players know what they're getting into.
No football player is in favor of a softer, less physical league, which is where things are going. I think it's very important to preserve the physical essence of the game.
Similarly, I would push for several rule changes to help the defense. Many rules in recent years have been made by the competition committee to help the offense -- particularly the passing game -- and increase scoring. This is not the Arena Football League. Fans do not need to see scores in the 50s and 60s.
Next, it's getting increasingly difficult to stop the pass. So I would push to loosen the rules on pass interference and covering receivers.
If I were commissioner, defensive players could keep their hands on receivers for 10 yards, instead of five, to slow receivers' routes. Also, I'd change the pass-interference rule to 15 yards and an automatic first down, instead of spotting the ball at the point of the foul. The 15-yard college rule makes more sense.
Let's give more help to the defense.