Nathan Hague

With recent rules changes to the NFL, things will likely look different over the next few years.

Last month, the NFL decided to expand its regular season to 17 games and decrease the preseason to three games. As a fan, I like having an extra game to be able to enjoy but I’m not the one affected by it and it does seem like a little bit of a double standard on the behalf of the league’s front office which always preaches about having a safer league. By adding a regular season game which means something down the stretch, you’re providing another opportunity for players to get hurt. My biggest concern with the expansion to 17 games is it could water down records of the past. Before too long, the league as we have known it up until now will be its own era – back in the day when they only played 16 games. In my opinion though, the biggest winner is a team that didn’t even get to play 16 games in a season – the ’72 Dolphins. Keep the champagne coming.

Tom Brady has spoken up against the rule change allowing players to wear jersey numbers that are untraditional to their positions. Running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, defensive backs and linebackers are now permitted to wear single digits. It’s definitely going to be different seeing a linebacker wear No.1 but that’s not an uncommon thing in college football. More than likely, we won’t even know the difference in a couple years.

The league is trying to make it easier for teams to recovery their own onside kicks by setting a limit of nine players within 25 yards of the ball. I get the numbers of onside kick recoveries are low but that’s because the NFL recently made a rule that players on the kicking team are no longer to have a running start, so the way I see it, the league is just trying to fix a problem it created without going back to the way it was. I especially don’t like the rule proposed by the Eagles that would give a team an option to gain 15 yards on one offensive play from its own 25-yard line to keep possession. If that were to happen, it would be just one more step to fading kickers out of the game.

One rule I’m not sure was discussed by the NFL but I’ve heard plenty of talk about is the rule when a player fumbles the ball out of the end zone it’s an automatic touchback and goes to the opposing team’s offense at the 20-yard line. I might be the only person on the planet that’s actually OK with this rule. Most of the rules are geared toward the offense as it is and I think it can serve as more motivation for defenses to make a play and for offenses to hold on to the ball. It’s either touchdown or touchback and I’m kind of OK with that. I’d be OK with the opposing team’s offense taking over at its own five-yard line or something like that to where there’s a good chance of a safety or defensive touchdown but all-in-all, I’m OK with the change of possession.

One thing is for sure this year — the Cowboys aren’t going to finish with a .500 record in 2021.

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