This has been one crazy season, but the dominant teams have risen to the top at the close of the season. With the New England Patriots being the cream of the crop, other teams follow, with the Philadelphia Eagles, the Chicago Bears, the Atlanta Falcons, the Pittsburgh Steelers among others. Additionally, viewership for the NFL has been at a high. However, this has not been the season without its flaws. Here are my top 6 New Year’s resolutions for the NFL:
Impose Suspension from the Game Immediately for Blatant Hits
While NBC analyst Cris Collinsworth isn’t exactly the sharpest tool in the toolshed, as he even admits, he was correct regarding this. If a player gets immediate suspension from the game, should he blatantly commit a helmet-to-helmet hit or late hit, it would have a more direct effect on the player and the team on the whole. The fines after the fact do serve to refrain the player after that game, however. Pittsburgh Steeler‘s James Harrison has finally stopped after his final talk with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and his fines now totaling $100,000 on his four hits. If Harrison was possibly suspended earlier on, perhaps it wouldn’t take three more hits to directly affect his behavior.
Bring More Coaches on the Hotseat
Well, this has been the season of firing for head coaches. With Wade Phillips of the Dallas Cowboys, it took a day of brooding before owner Jerry Jones finally released Phillips. With Josh McDaniels of the Denver Broncos, it took the development of Spygate II involving the taping of the San Francisco 49ers in London and the Broncos record to release him. Now Eric Mangini of the Cleveland Browns rests his fate with Mike Holmgren…
However, with the firing of most of these coaches, the complexion of their respective teams have changed with it. Generally, it has been good. With the Cowboys, Jeff Garrett has given the Cowboys a competitive team with Jon Kitna, at least prior to Kitna’s injury, and a balanced offense with Marion Barber and Felix Jones running. And with the Minnesota Vikings, the change from Brad Childress to Leslie Frazier has also brought change in their potential quarterback from Brett Favre to Joe Webb. Webb admittedly demonstrated against the Philadelphia Eagles that he was more than capable of running this offense. Now should Brett Favre to finally retire permanently, this should give Webb an opportunity to prove himself. As a result of these firings, creative use of available players have given these teams chances.
With these firings, the only downside is stability of the teams for the long-term. The development of rookie quarterbacks, in particular, will take a hit from constant change in coaches, as San Francisco 49ers Alex Smith can testify.
Conclude the Collective Bargaining Agreement Early
There are many issues being thrown about in this collective bargaining agreement for the next NFL season. From the length of the regular season to limitation of rookie wages, this discussion could last some time. Optimistically, it should be reached as soon as the Super Bowl ends. But optimism can only count for so much.
Deal with the Flooding of Former Starting Quarterbacks (in 2011)
With all these backup quarterbacks proving themselves at least to be decent managers of the game, next season should be potentially interesting, should there be trades made. With former Chicago Bears and now present starter for the Washington Redskins Rex Grossman, he had a great game against the Dallas Cowboys and an average game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Now with Donovan McNabb to be released to some other team, it could be a sight to see where he lands up.
This has been the year of the backup quarterback with starters often hurt. Other times, like with the 49ers, it was the combination of the injury and pure gambling. The most notable current success being Joe Webb and whether he can continue his success against the Detroit Lions. Now, with all these former starters potentially flooding the market, there could be one heck of a shakeup for next season.
Place the Pro Bowl After the Super Bowl
I realize that Roger Goodell thought it was a brilliant idea last year, but it really isn’t. Other than copping merchandise, and seeing players that you might not otherwise see, the idea of placing the Super Bowl before the Pro Bowl is really fundamentally unsound. Since players might be injured before the Pro Bowl, most likely, quite a few won’t be able to start. As said before, this is a great device for selling NFL jerseys and merchandise, but the timing of it is plain horrible. They should schedule the Pro Bowl after the Super Bowl like in the past. Perhaps there will be less viewership, but there will be more of the selected players actually playing.
No More NFL Network
Three major competing networks with this one being the last to join the party in the season. Why do the fans need this kind of agony? I know the NFL wants money, but they should give the fans a break on this one and cut the NFL Network loose.