Love at First Sight: 5 NFL Things I’d Love to See in 2018
By Ha Kung Wong
Happy Valentine’s Day, y’all! Or, if you’re reading this some other day, feel free to just insert whatever the closest holiday is and pretend I actually care about it.
For those who don’t know (and happen to care about Valentine’s Day), it all started when Saint Valentine was imprisoned in Rome for performing weddings for soldiers, who were forbidden to marry, and for doing other stuff that’s related to religion and probably way too educational for this article. According to legend, during his imprisonment Saint Valentine restored sight to the blind daughter of his judge, and before his execution he wrote her a letter signed “Your Valentine” as a farewell. Thank you, Wikipedia, for making it clear that our current incarnation of the holiday is completely misinformed.
I mean, I’ve written countless Valentine’s Day Cards in the past with “Your Valentine” in it, and I certainly wasn’t expecting to get executed. That part sounds decidedly NOT fun at all. To me, Valentine’s Day meant I needed to buy flowers, and perhaps chocolates, but not if my girlfriend/wife/significant other was feeling fat at that time of the month, because that would be totally insulting, even though there’s no freakin’ way I would know that she felt fat because she never told me that, and clearly I don’t have any mind reading powers since I’m still talking about this while half of you have decided that it might actually be more fun to be executed than continue to read my rant on Valentine’s Day. But I digress.
The point is that Valentine’s Day is now all about love, and there’s nothing I love more than the NFL (sorry girlfriend/wife/significant other). But there are a few things that I’d love to see happen in the NFL for 2018 that could make me love it even more. And since you’ve stuck around this long, what’s the harm in checking them out?
(1) Change that Stupid Catch Rule
The NFL rule book states in Rule 8, Section 1, Article 3, Item 1:
“A player is considered to be going to the ground if he does not remain upright long enough to demonstrate that he is clearly a runner. If a player goes to the ground in the act of catching a pass (with or without contact by an opponent), he must maintain control of the ball until after his initial contact with the ground, whether in the field of play or the end zone. If he loses control of the ball, and the ball touches the ground before he regains control, the pass is incomplete.”
This rule has been talked about more than any other rule I can think of, and for good reason — it always seems to pop up with the game on the line.
Take for instance the Jesse James “non-catch” against the Patriots late in the regular season and the Zach Ertz “catch” against the same Patriots in Super Bowl LII. Sure, the Ertz catch was much more clear (no thanks to Chris Colinsworth who seemed insistent on creating controversy), but that’s just two examples from this last season. They’ve been hoards of other examples going all the way back to the infamous Calvin Johnson and Dez Bryant “non-catches”. In fact, the NFL tried to make the rule clearer by changing the “football move” requirement to “clearly” becoming a “runner”. Because apparently the NFL thinks that if you put the word “clearly” in there, it’s going to mystically become more clear.
The problem is what “clearly” really consists of. And the biggest point of contention is “how long does the receiver have to possess the ball before you can say he clearly has become a runner”? Honestly, it’s ranged anywhere from a split second to several seconds, and going back to 2015 has been ruled differently several times. And the entire analysis after that is nonsense. Why make a distinction between being a “runner” or a “non-runner”?
The easy fix may be just to give it a time limitation. Possess the ball for 2 seconds, it’s a catch. Don’t possess the ball for 2 seconds and the ball touches the ground, it’s not a catch. Done and done, let’s move on.
(2) Bill Belichick Coaches a Team OTHER than the Patriots
I know lots of Patriots fans are furious with Belichick for his play calling in Super Bowl LII and for his bizarre benching of Malcolm Butler (which I also disagree with). And my podcast co-host, Ryan Whitfield, who is a big time Pats fan went so far as to say that things might not get better until Belichick moves on.
— The Boston Globe (@BostonGlobe) February 5, 2018
But wouldn’t it be cool to see if Belichick could recreate the dominance he had in New England for some other team? How awesome would it be for him to turn the lowly Cleveland Browns into repeat Super Bowl contenders? Heck, he was the Browns Head Coach for five years back in 1991 to 1995, so how cool would that be if he returned to finish what he started? Or perhaps the “over performing, but still not good” New York Jets? Creating dominance for some other team in the AFC East would be particularly fun to watch. Maybe we could finally settle that “is it Belichick or is it Brady” debate in New England.
(3) Tom Brady Plays for a Team OTHER than the Patriots
Speaking of which, how fun would it be for Tom Brady to move on to another team? Sure, he might be over the hill in QB years, but he’s still pretty darn good coming off a year where he was named to the Pro Bowl, named AFC Offensive Player of the Week 3 times, and was first in pass attempts (581) and yards (4,577) among all QBs in the NFL.
— Complex Sports (@ComplexSports) February 5, 2018
Maybe he pops on over the “on again off again rival” Indianapolis Colts? After the entire Josh McDaniels fiasco, how much fun would that be? Or better yet, he goes WITH Belichick to Cleveland and the Browns suddenly become the team to beat in the AFC? You have to admit, these games would definitely be “must see TV”.
(4) Nick Foles Gets Traded and Starts
Hey, Philly, I think he’s earned it. I know you need a good backup QB, because who knows when future hall of famer Carson Wentz gets back to the field, or whether he’ll get injured again. But Foles won you your first Super Bowl EVER, and he was the Super Bowl MVP. That’s pretty darn good. So you shouldn’t reward him with a seat on the sidelines holding a clipboard. Trade him, get your 1st or 2nd round pick, and give him a chance to start elsewhere.
"Without failure, who would you be?"
Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles delivers an all-time great sports quote 💯 pic.twitter.com/Gsz9n1wWrV
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) February 7, 2018
Besides, what else is Foles going to do for money for his family? Fall back on the $59 Million his dad made selling Eddie V’s restaurant back in 2011? Come on, that’s just too cliche. And $59 Million just doesn’t go as far as it used to. And one last thing…please make sure that Foles doesn’t play for Jeff Fisher…
Here's Jeff Fisher releasing Nick Foles in 2016.
"…best of luck and I hope you land on your feet." pic.twitter.com/AqHVDt8erk
— Joe Giglio (@JoeGiglioSports) February 6, 2018
(5) Andrew Luck Actually Plays Football
Maybe this is pie in the sky since we haven’t see Andrew Luck playing a game since 2016, and new reports leaked out that Luck may need even MORE surgery in this offseason.
FWIW: On Sunday, ESPN's @mortreport reported there still are doctors who have concerns about Andrew Luck's shoulder and whether he could wind up needing additional surgery.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 7, 2018
Sure, the Colts have denied it and said he’ll be back for the start of the 2018 season, but we’ve seen this exact song and dance before and look how it turned out?
Regarding Andrew Luck, Ballard says, "Everybody's an expert…. He doesn't need surgery. I've not gotten than from the two doctors… He's not throwing a football yet. Working on arm speed. He's not going to skip a step."
— Stephen Holder (@HolderStephen) February 7, 2018
I’m in the camp of “I’ll believe it when I see it”, but I’m hopeful he does make it back to the field. He’s a fun player to watch, and competitive games are just more interesting. Plus the whole Josh McDaniels thing. Hard to have a rivalry when your starting QB is Jacoby Brissett. I’m sure he’s a great guy, but I think you get my drift.
Jalen Ramsey with his third interception of the season. Undercuts the route perfectly. He reads Jacoby Brissett like a book.
— Big Cat Country (@BigCatCountry) December 3, 2017