My unbridled passion for the New York Giants, and the sport of football in general, is no surprise. I try my hardest to keep my finger on the pulse of the league, keeping track of every detail, from large announcements to small ones. And, as the off-season continues, new rules, regulations, draft picks and other interesting tidbits of information are constantly being released. I figured I would list a few of the most interesting changes going on in the NFL right now, in no particular order.
No More Leaping
One of the more recent trends sweeping the football nation is the field goal block leap. I’m sure you’ve seen it before: as the kicking team gears up to attempt the field goal/extra point, a defender executes a perfectly timed leap over the line of scrimmage just as the center snaps the ball. If done correctly, the defending player can block the attempt, thus potentially stopping a winning kick. It is easily one of the most exhilarating moments that can happen to any football game. Unfortunately, come September, it will no longer be allowed. The NFL officially ruled the play as unsafe, as the leaping defender could potentially be launched into the air and land on a player or in a dangerous position. Many players who have made the play popular are not necessarily happy about the rule.
A New Head Referee
One of the most famous images from any football game has to be the referee going under the hood in order to review a challenged play. Millions of fans would wait with baited breath as the referee would disappear from view for what felt like an eternity. However, much like the leaping ban, referees will no longer be using a private, closed off booth to make their decision. Instead, they will be handed a tablet with the previous play on loop. What’s more, the referee will not even have the final say on the matter. Come September, referees will speak directly with officiators in the command center in New York through headsets, with the vice president of the NFL and an executive crew making the final call on the challenge. According to the competition committee, this will increase consistency in calls and save time.
The 2016 season saw the St. Louis Rams officially move back to Los Angeles. And while NFL teams moving is typically not very frequent, these next few years will see quite a few relocations. Firstly, the San Diego Chargers will be moving a few miles north to become the Los Angeles Chargers. This is particularly interesting considering the Rams’ recent move to LA last season. LA has gone from a city with zero football teams, and a seeming lack of interest in ever having one, to having two teams within approximately a year. However, the most interesting move has to be the Oakland Raiders, a team with a tremendous fanbase, moving to Las Vegas. While Las Vegas is certainly a well-known, beloved city for its gambling, shimmering neon lights and plethora of nightlife options, it is by no means an area considered prime real estate for football fans. The move has more of a financial reasoning behind it. Las Vegas apparently offers a $750 million tax subsidy for building a state-of-the-art stadium for the Raiders. Regardless of the financial boon this could give the team, fans are, unsurprisingly, extremely upset. It will be interesting to see how Oakland, and the rest of the NFL, handles so many moves so close together.