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NFL rule changes: Dunking and other uses of football as prop will be penalty in 2014

The NFL passed a rule to ban dunking the football in celebration, as well as other uses of the ball as a prop. Maybe the NFL should be placing higher priority on other problems.

Joe Robbins

The National Football League continues to do whatever it can to remove the fun, banning dunking on the goal post. The owners passed a rule that will disallow dunking and other uses of the ball as a prop in such a manner.

That would seem to confirm that Vernon Davis can no longer do his fade away jump shot. For those that forget, he went with that after an ugly failed dunk attempt in Green Bay a while back. And given this discussion, I am contractually obligated to provide GIF evidence of said fail. Sorry, Vernon.


The rule was voted on in part because last year Jimmy Graham dunked a ball after a touchdown, and proceeded to bend the goal post. It caused a delay in the game, so I suppose I see the need for some kind of adjustment. But as is often the case when big entities try and correct a problem, the overcorrect by a wide margin.

I actually don't think this is all that big a deal because most fans will forget about this by the time the 2014 season arrives. They might get a brief reminder from some media folks, but otherwise, it will quickly be forgotten. Nonetheless, we still have a league that continues to do what it can to remove fun elements from the game.

The NFL has plenty of serious issues to address, and yet they seemingly spend more time on innocuous issues like this. Without even getting into the physical safety issues that remain a major issue, you can just look at the often shoddy work of NFL officiating. The NFL passed a rule that will allow officials to speak with the "command center" back in New York, where VP of Officiating Dean Blandino will be heading up a group already reviewing plays. That's certainly a good step forward, but there are so many other steps that seem incredibly logical, and yet somehow ignored to some extent.

The NFL will be voting tomorrow on one proposal to make personal fouls reviewable, and another proposal that would allow any official's decision to be challenged. There are concerns about extending games, but the league does not seem overly willing to consider a compromise to allow for getting calls right, while also not dragging games out too long.

For example, beyond the current players eligible for review, the NFL could allow challenges on any penalty that involves a penalty of 15 yards or more. That would cover personal fouls, as well as significant pass interference calls. These are plays where human error can have a significant effect on the result. We see it frequently with pass interference, and we saw it very specifically with Ahmad Brooks' personal foul call.

My suggestion is you allow for review of those plays, but you do not provide more challenges to the coaches. It is true that coaches are probably more likely to use up their challenges in such an instance, but they already had the allotment in hand, so the league had to know they could all be used. It blows my mind that the league wouldn't implement something like this. The goal should be to get calls right, now just chalk some issues up to "human error". There will be human error, but that's why the challenge system is available.