Look, it's really hard trying to come up with ideas for stories at this time of year. What's Drew Brees' favorite jam? Who's the greatest receptionist in Saints history? Can a lizard be trained to handle Sean Payton's press conferences? Tried them, all of them...didn't work. (I couldn't stop the lizard from giving straight answers.)
So, we're left with this. You get to pretend to be the Commissioner of the NFL, and make one rule change. It can be a change in NFL policy, or a change in the game itself. Actually, it could be kinda fun if you give it a chance. Sure, it's total fantasy, and we all know Roger Goodell is an alien from Pluto and he's not going to go against his programming; but we might actually generate some decent ideas. Who knows, maybe we can have a vote afterwards and decide whose idea was best, and then when Dave gets back he can award the winner something from out of his shop...something expensive. I'm sure he won't mind.
I'll go first. I've mentioned this one before in a previous discussion—but I'm actually pretty fond of it, and I'd like to float it again where it can get more eyeballs. I'm curious to find out what people will think of it. Here's my idea:
Behind the line of scrimmage, the ball is always live.
Think what this will accomplish...for instance:
• No more "tuck rule." If there were no tuck rule, either the Steelers or the Raiders would have played the Rams in the Super Bowl...because Tom Brady's fumble wouldn't have been protected by the stupidest rule in the history of professional or amateur sports of any geological era. Tom Brady would have been a goat instead of a Super Bowl MVP, there wouldn't be a New England dynasty, and Gisele Bundchen would probably be hanging with some soccer player.
• No more wondering whether or not the quarterback's hand was coming forward. If there were no incomplete passes behind the line of scrimmage, Jay Cutler would be the goat and Ed Hochuli would still be the best NFL referee.
• No more backs whiffing on screen passes. How many times have you seen this? A running back flares out into the flat, the quarterback throws a perfect pass, and the ball clanks off his hands. Back shakes his head, taps his chest ("It's on me") and trots back to the huddle. No more: you better catch the ball or be ready to fall on it.
• No more spiking. Seriously: isn't this a dumb rule, too? Spiking is intentional grounding. Even with the liberalized grounding rules, it's still intentional grounding. But it has its own special exemption because...why?
• Fewer sacks. Quarterbacks of the league, do I have your attention? That's right: there's less incentive to pile-drive a passer if you can cause a turnover by batting down the pass instead.
I'm sure I could think of more examples if I tried hard enough, but I'm only a backup. Now it's your turn. Remember, Dave is watching, so don't make me look bad.