I’ve got good news. And I’ve got bad news.
Which do you want to hear first?
Ok, the good news. Football is back. It might be preseason football but hey, the wait is over. Go buckwild.
Alright, the bad news. Ready?
The NFL is going to make it as unwatchable as possible.
While the league has seemed to fix their catch rule, simplifying it to eliminate confusion and inconsistency, they’ve replaced it with their haphazard helmet-to-helmet rule. In essence, they’re going a person going from three packs of smokes a day to drinking a whole bottle of Johnny Walker Blue. It’s different but not, you know, better.
The rule, a personal foul for any player who lowers their helmet and initiates contact with the helmet of another player, is going to be a disaster. Yesterday was the first test of the rule. And while there were a couple calls that I’m legitimately glad they’re policing out of football, there was plenty of chaos too.
This, for example, was a personal foul.
Jacobs issued a follow-up tweet that said this was actually a penalty for a defenseless receiver hit. But if the refs can’t even explain what the penalty was…woah boy, strap in for a tough year.
By the end of the game, there was frustration from fans and analysts across the board.
To be fair, it was the first game, and there’s time for the refs to seek some measure of clarification as the preseason progresses. Former OL Geoff Schwartz tried to add this reassurance.
But with an inexperienced referee crew that lost some key faces and the general terrible way the league has handled these muddy rules, it’s hard to feel confident they’ll get everything figured out by Week One. And it’s going to cost some team, maybe Pittsburgh, maybe someone else, a victory.
It’s going to be a loooong year.