Moore: The 2 NFL rules that the league needs to change

May 26, 2020, 10:56 AM

NFL rules, Pete Carroll...

The NFL's team owners will be considering some rule changes this week. (AP)


Team owners will consider changes to a couple of NFL rules on Thursday, including a fourth-and-15 from the 25-yard line that would replace the on-side kick.

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I’m in favor of that, but I wish they would also be discussing changes to two ridiculous NFL rules:

1) Giving the defense possession at the 20-yard line when the offense fumbles the ball out of the side of or back of the end zone.

In whose world does this make sense? Think about it, everywhere else on the field of play, when the ball is fumbled out of bounds the offense retains possession. It gets the ball where it went out of bounds unless if was fumbled forward. If that’s the case, the ball returns to the spot where the ball was fumbled, but the offense still keeps possession.

Why does the offense keep the ball? Because it was the last team to have possession of the ball before it went out of bounds! The defense never had possession of the ball before it went out. Seems logical, doesn’t it?

But all logic disappears when the ball bounces out of bounds in the end zone. We’ve all seen the plays where the running back or receiver is extending himself, trying to break the plane of the goal line with the ball before being tackled.

Then all of a sudden, the ball comes free and goes out of bounds by the pylon. The defense then gets the ball at the 20-yard line.

How can that be a good rule? You not only give the defense the ball but you give them 20 yards to boot! If you’re going to give the defense the ball, which is stupid in the first place, but if you are, why not give it to them at the 1-yard line, the closest spot in the field of play to where the ball went out? Why should they get 20 bonus yards?

Oh wait, I know, you’re gonna say because it’s a touchback. Seriously? That’s not a touchback to me.

If I were on the NFL’s competition committee, I’d argue that the offense should keep the ball but shouldn’t necessarily get it at the 1-yard line, again, the closest spot in the field of play to where the ball went out. If you want to penalize the offense for carelessly losing the ball where it did, give ‘em the ball at the 10-yard line. That would at least make the guys who are trying to break the plane with risky reaches think twice about doing it.

How and why they haven’t considered a rule change with this one is beyond me.

2) Giving the team that scores a touchdown on its first drive in overtime after winning the coin flip the victory without giving the opposing team a chance with the ball.

Let me ask you something – do they give the win to the visiting team in baseball if the visitor scores in the top of the 10th inning without giving the home team a chance in the bottom of the 10th? No!

Do they give an NBA team that scores first in overtime the win? No!

But according to NFL rules, thanks to a Mickey Mouse rule that puts too much of an emphasis on correctly calling heads or tails on the coin flip, you can win without your opponent even getting a chance with the ball.

We all know they at least modified this rule a few years ago, allowing the opposing team to get the ball if the team that wins the coin toss gets only a field goal on its first drive. But no such luck if it’s a touchdown.

Remember two years ago when New England beat Kansas City thanks to this Mickey Mouse rule in the AFC Championship? How dumb is it to not allow one of your biggest stars, Patrick Mahomes, a chance to come back and tie the game, ruining what could have been an all-time classic.

Those who like the rule as is simply say, “play better defense and stop the offense from scoring a touchdown.”

I say phooey on that. Sometimes defenses are worn out after playing 60 minutes and at a disadvantage as a result.

I know, life isn’t fair. But football should be.

Follow 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jim Moore on Twitter.

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Moore: The 2 NFL rules that the league needs to change