How to Reduce Injuries and Spice Up the GameSixty years of watching football, combined with the last few years' worth of rule changes in the name of player safety, have prompted your Ostrich Killer to come up with a few rule change suggestions. You may have some as well; send them and we'll add them to this list.
So here goes:
1. Personal Fouls (Defensive:) Any personal foul by a defensive player will result in that player being ejected for a full quarter of play, and the offense being awarded half the distance to the goal from the end of the play, point of foul, or line of scrimmage, whichever most favors the offense. In addition, the offense will be awarded an extra down: for example, if the foul happened during a second down play the offense will replay the down as First down. If the penalty results in a first down, the offense will be awarded two first down plays; the post-foul series will consist of five downs.
2. Personal Fouls (Offensive:) Any personal foul by a player on the offense will result in that player being ejected for a full quarter of play, and a yardage penalty of half the distance to their end zone measured from the point of the foul, end of the play, or the line of scrimmage, whichever most favors the defense. In addition, the offense will lose the down. For example, if the foul took place during a second down play, the next play would be a third down play.
3. Personal Fouls (multiple:) Any player committing two personal fouls during a game will be ejected from the game and suspended for the next game. Any team committing two or more personal fouls during a game will lose their coach for the remainder of the game and cause the coach to pay a $25,000 fine. The fine amount for each additional foul will be double the previous fine. For example, a team that commits 5 personal fouls in a game will cost their coach $25,000 + $50,000 + $100,000 + $200,000, or a total of $375,000. In addition, that team's JumboTron will be required to display a large yellow frowny-face and the words "Bad Coach! Bad, bad, bad!" The cheer leaders will lead the fans in a cheer of "Bad Coach! Bad, bad, bad!" Failure of the crowd to achieve a decibel level of at least 125 during this cheer will result in the award of 3 points to the offended team.
4. Surrender: Any ball carrier may surrender during a play. By signaling (signal yet to be defined) their surrender in sufficient time to allow an opposing player to avoid tackling them, the ball carrier agrees that their forward progress stops at the point where they make that signal. Any substantial avoidable hit of the ball carrier after that timely signal will result in a personal foul. To prevent 'fishing' for a foul call, if the ball carrier does not make the approved signal sufficiently in advance of being hit, and is therefore hit substantially, the ball carrier will be ejected for the remainder of the quarter. His team will be charged a loss of down and penalized 15 yards from the line of scrimmage or location of the foul, whichever most favors the defense.
5. Field Goal Point Scale: For purposes of this rule, a field goal's official distance will be measured from the line of scrimmage to the end zone. A field goal of 20 yards or less will be worth 1 point. A field goal of more than 20 yards and 35 yards or less will be worth 2 points. A field goal of greater than 35 yards will be worth 3 points.
6. Red Zone Scoring: Any team that obtains a first down in the Red Zone (20 yard line or closer) is ineligible to score by field goal. If they fail to score a touchdown, the team on defense will be awarded 3 points.
7. Legal formations: All formations before the snap are legal, so long as no player crosses the line of scrimmage until the ball is snapped.
8. Legal Motion: Before the ball is snapped, any motion is legal.
9. Men on the Field: A team may have as many men on the field as they wish until 5 seconds before the snap of the ball.
10. Play Reviews: Any official's call can be challenged, including fouls. Reviews must be completed within 120 seconds. An official who has two calls overturned during a game will be fined a game's pay and immediately replaced.
11. Points After Touchdown: A team that has scored a touchdown may score PAT (Points After Touchdown) in any of the following ways:
a. By kicking the ball through the uprights: 1 point.
b. By pass or run: 2 points.
c. By placing the ball on the 40 yard line and kicking a field goal: 3 points.
d. By placing the ball on the 30 yard line and scoring again in one run or pass play: 6 points.
Failure to score PAT will result in the award of 3 points to the defense.
12. Change of Possession scoring: Any change of possession through fumble, pass interception, or turning the ball over on downs will result in the defense being awarded 1 point.
14. Overtime: Overtime is "sudden death" with no clock. Play will continue until there is a winner. A minimum margin of 4 points or more is required to win unless both teams have completed 2 possessions. Thereafter the minimum margin for a win is 1 point.
15. Unused Down Carry-Over: Downs not used to achieve a first down will be carried over to the next series of downs. As an example, a team that achieves a first down in two plays still has two unused downs. Those unused downs can be used in the next series, effectively giving the team six plays to get their next first down. However, all carry-over is canceled upon a team achieving a first down in the red zone.
16. Quarterback Safety: The quarterback or player receiving the snap from center may not advance the ball by run beyond the line of scrimmage. Doing so will result in a 15 yard penalty, ejection from the game for a full quarter, and loss of down. In order to balance the defensive strength relative to the offense, the team on defense may field no more than 10 players.
I think that'll do for now. You can see how rules 1, 2, 3, 4, and 16 would dramatically reduce player injuries. I have many more such suggestions. You? Send your to the Ostrich Killer, and welcome to the Theater of the Absurd.