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January 22, 2014



Agreed on getting rid of the Extra Point. The Eagles/Lions snowpocalypse this year was one of my favorite games to watch. No extra points were kicked. The point not being that games without extra points are good, but that when weather is involved they are far from automatic.

I find myself disagreeing with you regarding the review of personal fouls. Some hits happen so fast that a good clean tackle can appear to have been a helmet to helmet or a lead with a helmet, when nothing but shoulder to chest was in contact. These seem to happen at least once in every game I watch, and being 15 yard penalties, can alter outcomes of drives significantly.


You really want to give Jeff Triplette an opportunity to blow the same call twice in a game? ~heh~

I agree that we see too many calls on hits that are 'technically' legal. Many of them are borderline, a few are just plain clean hits, and some are technically illegal hits but cause us fans to mutter about the 'whussification of the game'. (I think it was against Cleveland(?) that there was a 'blow to the head' of Tom Brady. A player's hand was pushed up against his ear piece by the collapsing offensive lineman. Plays like that definitely make fans scream "Come on, Man!?!")

Allow me to bolster my position with these arguments. To some degree, all 'unnecessary roughness' type penalties are subjective, with ever more complex definitions lending some false form of objective credibility to any call. If the point of the rule is player safety, then the officials should have the right and responsibility to decide which hits are borderline enough to call in real time. There was a hit on Drew Brees this year that snapped his head back and forth like one of those dashboard bobble-dolls. His neck stretched about 4 inches. Upon replay, the blow was shoulder to the upper sternum and was technically legal. Penalty called. It is possible that after a five minute delay for review, the call might have been overturned.

I suggest that it's not likely that it would have been. Officials don't like overturning their own calls when there is the element of subjective decision making involved, especially when the threat of player safety is at stake. To overturn such calls, the league has to take the onus (and blame) off the officials with an ever more complex rule book (if the player is hit at a 40 degree upward angle while facing the north star with the center divot of the shoulder pad's free plate, then the hit is legal, except on Wednesdays.) The implications should be clear. Some, I think most, officials will hesitate to call vicious hits at all, legal or otherwise. Some will fall back on the book of Madden: if a helmet comes off and there isn't a head in it, that's a good thing.

That's my problem with reviewing personal fouls, the same problem I have with reviewing turnovers. What can only be reviewed is what is called on the field, not what actually happened. In other words, the only thing that can be reviewed is the officiating. Welker laid a vicious hit on Talib, no question. It was from the front and shoulder to chest. It was also early (even if Thomas had caught the pass), and that was the penalty, the timing of the hit. I'm certain that Belichick and Kraft would want that to be reviewable, but because there no flag, there was nothing to review even if Goodell gets his pandering wish. In the NFC game, Andy Lee gets his plant leg ankle rolled on a punt. The call was obviously blown as 'running into the kicker'. From what was proposed by Goodell, that wouldn't be reviewable, and even if it were, why could a review level a larger penalty in one case, but not the case of Welker - Talib?

So, I propose a compromise. Anything is reviewable, at any time, by coach's challenge. Keep the challenge rules the same. If a coach wants to risk his timeouts, let him. Belichick could challenge a penalty on Welker. Harbaugh could have challenged the denied fumble recovery by Bowman. Both of those as called on the field would likely have been overturned.

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