This time last year, George Kittle was doing all sorts of interviews and skills challenges at the Pro Bowl. We made arguments in December for a few San Francisco 49ers and why they should be in the event. A month later, the Niners are in the Super Bowl, and none of the handful of players will be participating. On Tuesday morning, cornerback Richard Sherman was replaced by Minnesota Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes. Kittle was replaced by Atlanta Falcons tight end Austin Hooper, and Vikings fullback C.J. Ham replaced fullback Kyle Juszczyk. Oh, and Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen replaced Nick Bosa.
Possible rule changes
I don’t plan on watching the Pro Bowl, but the NFL announced they would be trying two new rules during the game.
OPTIONS AFTER A SUCCESSFUL FIELD GOAL OR TRY ATTEMPT WITH NO KICKOFF
The scoring team, Team A, has the following options:
Team A may elect to give Team B the ball at Team B’s 25-yard line, beginning a new series of downs with a first-and-10.
Team A may elect to take the ball at its own 25-yard line for a fourth-and-15 play.
If Team A is successful in making a first down, Team A will maintain possession and a new series of downs will continue as normal.
If Team A is unsuccessful in making a first down, the result will be a turnover on downs and Team B will take possession at the dead ball spot.
This seems like a circus waiting to happen. Could you imagine how much the referees played a part in the fourth-and-15 play? Remember the Packers-Seahawks Wildcard matchup where Jimmy Graham looked to be short of the first, but the ref’s spot gave him the first down? I guess the flip side would be the Saints being screwed on a pass interference. Either way, you’re asking for it, NFL.
Here is the second rule:
NOT A FALSE START ON A FLINCH BY A FLEXED RECEIVER
It is not a false start if a flexed, eligible receiver in a two-point stance who flinches or picks up one foot, as long as his other foot remains partially on the ground and he resets for one second prior to the snap. A receiver who fits this exception is not considered to be “in motion” for the purposes of the Illegal Shift rules.
It is not a false start if all 11 offensive players have been set for at least one full second and any flexed, eligible receiver breaks his stance by picking up both feet.
This feels like you’re giving a receiver an excuse for messing up. Not a fan.
In advance of Super Bowl LIV and the publicity that awaits, #49ers LB Kwon Alexander has filed trademark applications for Hot Boyzz and Hot Boyzz University, per his trademark lawyer @DarrenHeitner. Alexander leads SF’s “Hot Boyzz” movement.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 21, 2020
I’m all for players benefitting and profiting. Clearly, Alexander isn’t the first person to use to term Hot Boyzz. Throw in an extra “z,” have everyone wear a shirt, so others want to buy: