Football rule change I'd like to see

Here’s a radical rule that would limit the chance of a team just taking a knee and running out the clock.

After the two-minute warning, the clock does not restart until two things happen:

  1. The team in possession of the ball earns a first down, and
  2. That team request that the clock be run normally, which it can decline to do.

Example: A has a ten point lead over B, and has the ball. The clock remains stopped at 2:00 until A earns a first down. Then, A can start the clock and try to run it out. But if A fails to make a first down and has to kick it away, B can run as many plays as it wants, without the clock starting. If they score, then A again needs to earn a first down to start the clock. This can repeat until the losing team catches up, if the leading team never earns a first down enabling it to start the clock. The game cannot end until the leading team earns a first down and restarts the clock.

You think the end of a game takes forever NOW? This rule makes no sense.

Wow, that’s a stunningly awful idea. It completely invalidates all the time management strategy from the previous 58 minutes of play time. Just so the losing team gets another bite at the apple.

I think the effect is modest at best. Typically, only 1 or 2 interior linemen are inside the tackle box and at the line of scrimmage, they generally do use a 3pt stance and go forward. Defensive Ends generally line up outside the tackles.

Interior Blitzes would be affected, but you would train the LBs to stop just behind their respective linemen, to technically be off the LOS.
I’m also with Novelty Bobble in wanting more grab based tackling and getting rid of collision based tackling. Rule that you need to lead with your hands when tackling, either pushing or having your hands in a forward position as you wrap for the tackle. No leading with the shoulder or forearm (or head) when tackling.

Holy crap you’re telling me!

Plus the final score of every other game would be 87-72 because of all the scoring in the last 2 min.

He was on the right track though, the clock needs to run as normal as long as the team with the ball makes a conscious effort to move the ball forward. No more kneel downs, you have to hand it off to the rb or have the qb sneak it a yard or whatever, but none of this kneeling to run the clock out BS

Not so. The losing team get no chance, as long as the winning team executes a first down.

So you think it is a less awful idea to have the winning team take a knee three times to run out the last minute? There is no “time management strategy” in the first 58 minutes. How many times have you seen a runner try not to go out of bounds in the first quarter, to keep the clock running? Or run a hurry-up offense in the first quarter?

I bet you hate baseball, where you can’t run out the clock, and have to keep throwing pitches to the team that’s behind. Being able to run out the clock is the worst defect of all timed sports.

It wouldn’t matter much then. Until the last five minutes of a half, an out-of-bounds clock stoppage gets started back up when the ball is spotted.

The rule I’d like to see changed: fewer defensive penalties that include the “automatic first down.” Give the offense the five yards and let them replay that down, but don’t give them a first down unless the yards get them there.

That’s not a defect, it’s a feature.

The last 2 minutes of NBA games are the most frustrating minutes of organized sport. The inability of the leading team to simply run out the clock means the fan has to spend 15 minutes watching foul after foul as the losing team desperately tries to cling to the 1/2% chance they have to come back.

2 minutes left to play, down 21 points, the game should just be over, you LOST. Don’t make me watch a bunch of 3 and outs as the clock stays at 2:00 for 15 minutes, only to have the game end in a 18 point loss. Congratulations, you almost got to a score that could, if you squint, be called vaguely competitive.
Edited to add, the 2 minute drill is one of the most exciting aspects of football, awesome fast paced edge of your seat action, and your rule has all but killed it.

There would be an easy remedy for that. An automatic clock runoff of 10 seconds every time there is a foul. Expand periods by a minute or two to compensate for it during regular play.

All games (except baseball*) require constant rule tinkering, in order to make compensations for error when the development of player skills or strategy outrun the current rules. This is just one of them, and it needs to be addressed.

    • In baseball, they keep changing rules unnecessarily when nothing is broken, just for the sake of change.

You’ll often see leading teams grind it out on the ground to keep the clock running in the 3rd quarter and eat up time. The out-of-bounds thing was already covered. Many teams use hurry-up offense all game now as a strategy to tire out the opposing team and keep them off balance. I have no problem with teams taking a knee in the final two minutes if they’ve earned it. It’s part of the game that I can live with. I’d rather that than someone blowing out their knee on a meaningless set of downs.

I love baseball, it’s my favorite spectator sport. I always stay until the last pitch no matter what and enjoy all the action. But it’s a different sport than football and I don’t need them to share all the same characteristics.

This reminds me of a question that a Chinese student of mine once asked. He said, Chinese people like simple sports like soccer and table tennis, where the rules are pretty straightforward. Americans like sports like baseball and football, where there are many rules and it’s virtually impossible for an outsider to tell what’s going on without someone to walk them through each foul or bizarre play. Why do Americans like these complex sports so much?

The only answer I could muster is that we are a country full of lawyers, and there’s a huge societal need to argue endlessly about rules.

This proposal, to make incredibly complex and distorting rules regarding a fucking clock – yes, a damned timer – reminds me of our litigious heritage.

It depends on the scheme, and how you define the tackle box. On base downs (i.e. first-and-ten), 3-4 ends typically line up head-up on the OT. 4-3 ends typically line up on the OT’s outside shoulder. Gross simplification, obviously.

Th at step (or two, again depending on how you define the box) is a big deal. It’s plenty enough to make blitzing much, much less viable as a tactic.

Agreed in principle, but defining this and enforcing it is very difficult.

  1. Nine times out of ten, trying to tackle a runner with just your arms is impossible. Unless you can hit them low (not always possible) a 200 lb athlete with a full head of steam simply cannot be brought down by grabbing them; the physics simply do not allow it. That mass+velocity must be met with contrary mass+velocity. Let a freind drive a motorcycle at 20 mph right past you, and visualize sticking an arm out and grabbing him.

  2. A man with the ball is a moving target; a perfect form tackle has the defender approaching with arms out the side curled foward, ready to wrap and drag, in part because it you’re trying to “catch” the runner, and this gives you a catch radius (i.e. the potential area of my body that can impact the runner) of about 6 feet. Make a rule requiring “hands first” and now your catch radius is the width of your palm.

And on the strategic level, it would be another thing leading to more smashmouth football, instead of the freewheeling open-field game most fans like.

Darren Sproles is fast and exciting, but at 5’6" 170, he can be shoved to the ground or arm tackled. This rule change would likely end his career, because it gives such a huge advantage to bigger and bigger power backs (think 250, 260, 270+), who can slam the ball up the middle while defenders try futilely to arm tackle them. (Suffering innumerable arm injuries in the process.)
Yeah, modern players need to stop trying for the highlight-reel “blow him up” hits. But requiring hands-first tackiling is much too much too far.

Jtur-If you want to ban kneeldowns, like Arena ball, I can totally get behind that. But your rule is a mess.

My thought is that the tackling rule would read such that a “textbook” tackle, arms encircling, shoulder in the gut, wrapping the runner is OK. Just the idea that your arms/hands need to be extended forward in some fashion and involved in the action of tackling rather than be drawn in for protection while you strike the runner. It’s definitely a wordsmithing problem, wouldn’t want to get rid of good solid tackling.

I get the idea, and I agree with the goal, but I think the wordsmithing is probably too difficult. You’d be tweaking it back and forth every year for a decade, and it would be a mess.

Honestly, it just needs to be coached in, and I think it can be, even at the NFL level. Watch Seattle’s DBs: hit, wrap and drag, hit, wrap and drag. Farging perfect textbook technique, which Pete Carroll is known to stress. Gosh, what a surprise that they just happen to be the best defense in the league.

As one who thinks football is way overcomplicated, I like this observation. What, for example, is a coaches’ challenge but a mini-lawsuit?

The two minute warning has long outlived its usefulness. Time to let it go. In fact, I think football could function quite well without a clock at all. Have a play count instead, 144 is a nice number for a game. Twenty-five seconds to line up and snap the ball again, no need to have clock stoppages for every little thing like an incomplete pass. And eliminate timeouts, too. Let’s get this game moving again.