The journey toward Super Bowl LII ended far too prematurely for the Pittsburgh Steelers, sending them into offseason mode before we were ready for it. But we are in it now, and are ready to move on, through the Combine, through free agency, through the draft, into OTAs, and beyond.
We have asked and answered a lot of questions over the years and will continue to do so, and at the moment, there seem to be a ton of questions that need answering. A surprise early exit in the postseason will do that to you though, especially when it happens in the way it did.
You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring developments all throughout the offseason process, all the way down to Latrobe. Pending free agents, possible veteran roster cuts, contract extensions, pre-draft visits, pro days, all of it will have its place when the time arises.
Question: Which new rule or policy adjustment this week do you feel is going to be the most beneficial or problematic?
The owners met over the early portion of this week and put to vote a few of the odds and ends remaining from the offseason. They approved David Tepper as the new owner of the Carolina Panthers, which should become official in July. They changed the kickoff rule. They gave central command the ability to override ejections. And they tweaked the league’s policy about players out on the field prior to kickoff.
Let’s start with the first tweak. Most fans who follow the game relatively closely understand that the kickoff is kind of on its last legs. The new rule change was a last-ditch effort to save the play. Whether or not it works, basically, is equivalent to whether or not the kickoff will continue to exist in the NFL.
Wedges have been eliminated, as have running starts. Blocking has been restricted until the ball has been put in play near the center of the field. We don’t really know how this will all sort out until we see it put into action. But that goes for all of these tweaks. We can only predict what the affect will be.
The league also added the ability for the NFL central command to immediately review on-field decisions by officials to eject players. This was part of the effort to make the came safer under the new lowering of the helmet rule, though it applies to all ejections. Basically, the league can decide that an official was mistaken in ejecting a player and can reinstate him. This is expected to work in the fashion of any other review, which could happen quickly, as in confirming a touchdown, or longer, requiring a commercial break.
Finally, the league decided to weigh in on the national anthem after is seemed as though they wouldn’t. Players are now permitted to remain in the locker room prior to the game, including the performance of the anthem; however, if they are on the field, and participate in an act seen as a protest or a sign of disrespect, it can result in the league fining his team. Teams will also be permitted to set their own individual standards for pre-game conduct as it relates to participation in the anthem.
Which of these three is going to work well? Which is going to be problematic? It’s rare that an NFL change actually goes smoothly, in my experience.