The NFL owners changed several rules back in March, but with the venerable Shannon Sharpe offering up his take on the rules changes and given the slow nature of the news cycle right now, it was worth a Horse Tracks review. Since its been a few months, here is a copy and paste job of those rules changes:
- Extend the uprights to make them five feet taller.
- Protect players from getting the sides of their legs rolled up on — the rule already says a blocker can’t hit an opponent in the back of the legs, this proposal will add "or side" to the rule.
- Allow the referee to consult with members of the NFL officiating department during replay reviews. The referee would be able to speak with the command center in New York to help in reviewing a play.
- Re-organize the rules about what can be reviewed and what cannot be reviewed, including making the recovery of a loose ball in the field of play reviewable.
- Don’t stop the clock on a sack.
- Enforce defensive fouls behind the line of scrimmage from the previous spot, rather than from the end of the run or from the spot of the foul.
- Bylaw Changes: Adjust the time of the roster reduction from 53 after the fourth preseason game from 6 p.m. Eastern to 4 p.m. Eastern. All teams would have to have their list of final cuts in by 4 p.m.
Sharpe was right when he stated that most of these rules changes were necessary for today's game, with the rolling up on the sides of legs being the most important rule change of the list. Honestly, I disagree. Though its certainly an important way to help improve player safety, it does little to help improve the function of the game.
Instead, I see the referee's consulting with the NFL officiating department during reviews and including the ability to review possession of a loose ball as major improvements to the quality and integrity of the game. Either way, I am okay with all of these rules changes and it seems as those Sharpe is as well.
- The media is making a big hubbub over Adam Gase thinking the Denver Broncos offense could be better in 2014 than it was in 2013. Part of me wants to scoff, but who knows...this offense is scary good when its not shooting itself in the foot. And it shot itself in the foot frequently last season.
- Tom Jackson's 73 yard interception return against the Indianapolis Colts in 1977 is considered one of the top three plays in Denver Broncos history and though that was a great play I horribly disagree that this is even in the Top 15 or 20, much less Top 3!
- Ben Hamilton thinks $170,000 average settlement for 4500 players isn't enough when it comes to the painful realities of living with the long term effects of multiple concussions. I think modern players like Hamilton had far more information to make informative decisions on their health than say a guy who played in the 60s or 70s, but that's just me.
- A nice little round table video from BTV came out about some of the more interesting camp stories out of Dove Valley so far this offseason.
- Jack Del Rio, the man behind the amazing turnaround in the Broncos defense since he took over in 2012, has been inducted into the USC Hall of Fame as a linebacker for the Trojans back in the 1980s.