New Year’s resolutions are a lot like Jeb Bush’s campaign: They seem like a good idea at the start, but after a few weeks the lack of passion makes it painfully obvious it’s never going to work.
With that in mind, I’ve decided to punt on the personal resolutions and have instead turned my attention to the National Football League, where, despite record-breaking revenues, a few glaring things still need fixing if we’re going to have any shot at keeping our sanity in 2016. To fix the problem, we first need to understand it, so here goes.
2015 will forever be remembered for the way it began: with a blatant disregard for the rules, followed by the destruction of a thousand texts and emails and an arrogant refusal to cooperate with investigators. But enough about Hillary, let’s get back to football for a second.
In a year in which NFL fans learned such minuscule things as the proper inflation level of a football, the correct way to wear one’s socks, and the protocol for dancing after a touchdown, how is that not one league official can explain to us what constitutes a catch?
It’s maddening to sit here every week and watch huge passing plays get overturned for reasons not even the refs fully understand. And you can’t blame them, because the rule book doesn’t make any sense. At this point, I’d have more respect for the process if they were consulting a Magic 8 Ball on the sidelines. (Just when you thought the NFL couldn’t have any more sponsored segments.)
Resolution One: Fix the Catch Rule
Under the original rule, a player had to make a “football move” for a pass to be considered a catch. The rule was re-written in July because it was too vague. I have to agree, because nowadays most people think a “football move” means to get caught speeding with a loaded handgun under the passenger seat.
The newest version was named the “Dez Bryant Rule” in response to his non-catch in the divisional round against the Packers. For a pass to be a catch now, the player must “establish himself as a runner,” which still doesn’t make Bryant’s play a catch and still doesn’t end the fuck-for-all that ensues whenever a receiver hits the ground and loses the ball.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced he was forming a six-man committee to solve the issue in the coming offseason, and let’s pray they do a better job than the last two committees—if not for our sake, for the refs’. Whenever a game-changing drop gets called, the refs look like teenagers who came home stoned and unexpectedly ran into their parents. They’re trying to explain themselves without betraying the fact that they have no idea what’s really happening. As fun as it is to watch them tap dance, there’s no excuse for the lack of clarity in a zillion-dollar league like the NFL.
Resolution number one: Fix the catch rule. We’ve already had a coach blow the Super Bowl on a pass play. We don’t need a ref to do it next.
Resolution Two: No More Tie Games
Here’s another one that makes me want to shoot my TV if only I didn’t live in New York, where a gun permit is harder to get than a playoff win by the Knicks. Can we stop NFL football games from ending in a tie? We’re shelling out $40 to park and refinancing our houses to buy a few beers, the least you can do is throw us an outcome.
Most experts cite player safety as the reason NFL games can’t go on forever, but they don’t have to if you establish an alternative game of skill to determine things.
How about after one quarter of normal overtime we have a field-goal-kicking contest or even a five-on-five passing drill? You could make it a game of beer pong for all I care— just give us a winner. Yes, I’m aware of how ridiculous beer pong sounds, but you’ve gotta admit it would be nice to see Johnny Manziel and the Browns finally favored to win something.
Resolution number two: No more ties in the NFL. If we wanted to watch a contest where we weren’t sure who the winner was, we’d watch Miss Universe.
Speaking of international competitions, we need to axe this whole NFL London charade. The British want our football as badly as we want their cuisine. And it’s no wonder, because we’re sending them matchups like Jacksonville versus Buffalo and Kansas City versus Detroit. Those games would be cruel to show in Guantanamo Bay, let alone Wembley Stadium.
But the real victims are guys like me who, because of the earlier start, are now forced to think critically at 9 a.m. on a Sunday morning when we call in our bets. No man should have to make potentially life-altering decisions before he’s wiped the glitter off his face from the night before.
Seriously, I’m pretty sure the only reason I bet the Vikings in 2013 was because I was still wearing a Viking helmet from a night of drinking in Atlantic City. In 2014, I bet the Dolphins over the Raiders because Ace Ventura was on a TV at the bar I watched the game at.
That brings me to my final resolution. Let’s try and drink a little bit less.