- An Alternative View on the Officiating Debacle
By Brian Burke
In general, I don't like penalties at all. It breaks up the flow of the game, and most of them are so subjective that fans of the penalized teams always feel aggrieved. And even when penalties favor your team, there's something about it that feels cheap. Plus, with all the complex rules and reviews, the NFL seems like it's run by a bunch of lawyers. Wait, what?...Oh. It all makes sense now...)
Here's what I think the problem is. The NFL has a yardage inflation problem. Offenses fly up and down the field with ease in the modern NFL. A generation or two ago, a 10 or 15 yd penalty was a more severe blow. These days, not so much.
So the level of pain might need to be increased. For example, holding might need to be a 15 yd penalty now. Pass interference might need to include an extra 10 yds. Perhaps personal fouls should be 20 or 25 yds. Helmet-to-helmet violations might need to be 30 yds. Yes, those are stiff consequences, but we'd ultimately see far fewer flags, and the game would flow so much better. On net there might be fewer total penalty yards despite the stiffer yardage consequences, because players would be more reluctant to hold, interfere, etc...
Think of it this way: In the 1970s a speeding ticket might have cost about $30. If it were still just 30 bucks in 2012, people would be far more reckless on the road because of inflation. A $30 fine just isn't as painful in 2012 as it was in 1972. The NFL has a yard-inflation problem, so just as the states have to raise the price of a speeding ticket to maintain the same level of deterrence, the NFL needs to raise the pain of rule violations.
Just thinking out loud.
published on 9/26/2012