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Flag on the Play: NFL Rule Changes Adopted

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At the owners meetings in New Orleans today, the NFL adopted four new rule changes intended to make the game safer, more accurate, predominantly green and eliminate confusion.  Stick with me after the fold to see how these rule changes will affect the 2011 season and the Denver Broncos.


Probably the most sweeping rule changes have to do with the kick-off game.  Kickoffs will be moving from the 30 up to the 35-yard line. This will undoubtedly increase the number of touchbacks occuring during games. The reasoning behind the move is simple:  More touchbacks = less high-speed collisions = less injuries.

The second part of this rule change has to do with the running start that the coverage teams get on kickoffs. Instead of the 10-15 yard start we're accustomed to, coverage will only have 5 yards to get up to speed as the ball is kicked off.

Impact on Bronco Fans:    

Because he's a stud and the thin air of the Mile High City, Matt Prater already kicks balls out the back of the end zone and so it's now possible that seat prices in the north and south end zones will have to be adjusted to account for the high number of footballs that are going to be flying into the stands and, subsequently, going home as souvenirs.  

In all seriousness, this rule change projects to make the game a little safer.  The cervical spine injury that nearly paralyzed Kevin Everett while trying to tackle former Bronco Dominik Hixon, will hopefully be a less likely occurrence.  


Instant Replay:

Coaches will now not have to burn their challenges when a questionable play involves scoring.  From now on, EVERY scoring play will be confirmed by an off-field replay official. 

Impact on the Bronco Fans:

What is already a three hour extravaganza of Cialis and Play-60 commercials just got that much longer.  The spontaneity of an awesome touchdown will now be subject to the scrutiny and judgment of some unseen official.  Though calls will, more often than not, be correct, the dread of an official review will be a lingering specter on EVERY scoring play.


Playing Surface:

Teams that wish to change their field color now need league approval. 

Impact on Bronco Fans:

In our shift to orange uniforms for the 2012 season, don't expect the field to do the same.  Our brethren in Boise will probably be the only Bronco team we'll ever know to have a non-green field.  This is a crushing blow to my personal wish for all orange all the time.  


Dead Ball Fouls:

Rules were changed to make all dead ball fouls uniform so that there wouldn't be scenarios where the half would have to be extended due to a penalty.

Impact on Bronco Fans:

Since this rule change is intended to eliminate confusion that surrounds this sort of thing, I can't imagine a instance where a Bronco fans would toss their cheese puffs and scream at the television.  If nothing else, eliminating confusion is probably a good thing and I foresee very few people getting upset over it.  Explaining the game to your kids, girlfriend/boyfriend, husband/wife, Europeans and people otherwise unfamiliar with it just got a little easier (and less annoying).