When NFL officials visited Gillette Stadium earlier this year to go over 2010 rule changes, the biggest seemed to be the new position of the umpire and how it would affect lethal no-huddle offenses like the Patriots and Colts.
The topic was detailed in this blog entry back on Aug. 9.
The issue is now percolating after the Colts were penalized for two illegal snaps Thursday in preseason action against the Packers, and quarterback Peyton Manning called one of the penalties "ridiculous." The NFL responded by saying the umpire's position won't change, but that the league will "continue to analyze and review the impact of the change in the preseason, and we may announce some adjustments to the mechanics of the position prior to Week 1."
When dissecting this topic, a few things come to mind:
1. How it affects the Patriots. Like the Colts, the Patriots like to control tempo with a hurry-up, no-huddle attack at various points in the game. My sense is that one of Bill Belichick's biggest issues is how consistently the illegal snap penalties will be called from crew to crew. The Patriots used the no-huddle Thursday against the Rams and didn't run into any problems with illegal snaps, but Belichick said the true test will come when the Patriots are really trying to quicken the tempo.
2. The NFL's rules-making process. One would think that the NFL puts a lot of time and thought into making rule changes, considering all scenarios -- pros and cons -- before implementing them. And now they are going to alter the rule after just three preseason games? If this happens, the league's decision-making process should be looked at closer.
3. Bill Polian's conflict of interest. As a member of the NFL's competition committee, Colts president Bill Polian would presumably be a part of any discussion regarding the change/alteration of this rule. That conflict of interest should be taken into account before any decisions are made.