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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Couch Slouch’s tips for a better NFL

Norman Chad
Norman Chad
I don’t go anywhere without the NFL – for instance, after a dreadful second night of my honeymoon, it temporarily saved my first marriage in October 1984 with a great slate of games the next day – but the league, as good as it is, can always use a bit of improvement. Couch Slouch humbly proposes the following somewhat revolutionary rule changes: Let’s make overtime fair and just, like the rest of America is. In 2012, the NFL adjusted sudden-death overtime, so that a game can only end on the first possession if a touchdown were scored. But this still means that a team could lose without its offense ever getting on the field. If baseball did this in its version of overtime – extra innings – that means, after flipping a coin, a game would end if a run is scored in the top of the 10th inning without the other team coming to bat in the bottom of the 10th. You think Bob Costas would stand for that? Kickers have gotten so good, we’ve got to make it harder to kick a field goal. Narrowing the uprights would be, well, boring. Rather, let’s steal a page from miniature golf – make it like the windmill hole at Putt-Putt! With a giant, mobile windmill wheeled out in front of the goalpost, a kicker not only would need to be accurate, the entire snapper/holder/kicker combo would need to time the kick so it doesn’t bang off one of the blades. In addition, just eliminate the extra point altogether. It’s like the penny – the extra point has outlived its usefulness. If a team commits multiple fouls on a play, it should be penalized for all of them. If there’s an offside, illegal use of hands and roughing the passer, the officials should mark off 35 yards of penalties. When an individual robs two banks and conspires to commit health care fraud on the same afternoon, that person is charged and tried for three crimes, no? Why are we bundling on-the-field infractions into a single violation? The ground CAN cause a fumble. That’s the way we used to play it on the playground. This also would save 37 minutes per game in watching replays to see if the ball is out before or after the runner’s knee is down. Eliminate all pass-interference penalties. Pass-interference fouls are game-changers, and often nobody knows if the call is correct or not. So let’s just bring back the bump-and-run, tell all receivers and defensive backs to GO FOR WHAT YOU KNOW and may the strongest survive. You should not be allowed to punt the ball out of bounds. If a kickoff goes out of bounds, there’s a penalty. Why not on punts? Once again, here’s an example of DeMaurice Smith and the players union not protecting the rights of its members; in this case, punt returners. There should be five downs instead of four in the final quarter. More downs, more offense, more scoring, more comebacks! Plus analysts like Solomon Wilcots get to say, “I think this is five-down territory.” Coaches can run out onto the field once a half to protest a call. It’s good theater, like when Earl Weaver and Billy Martin used to sprint onto the baseball diamond and kick dirt on the umpire. Require a minimum of eight players out of 11 lining up on offense, defense or special teams to have a bachelor’s degree. This will trickle down and help the integrity of the college game; it will put the “student” back into student-athlete. Apply the Rooney Rule to offensive lines. In some municipalities – like Cleveland, Green Bay, Jacksonville and New England – the offensive line remains the last, acceptable bastion of segregation. The yellow first-down line should be used in stadiums. It’s the primary reason I never attend an NFL game in person – well, and the fact that I don’t want to pay for tickets, parking and concessions or fight traffic, plus I haven’t been off my sofa since Bush 41 was in office. NHL-style power plays for major infractions. Try doubling Rob Gronkowski when it’s 11-on-10. Hah! Since we have replay as an officiating tool, let’s replay every play of every game. No reason not to get it right.

Ask The Slouch

Q. A recent column of yours has inspired me to initiate a Fantasy Pornography League – do you think guys living in their parents’ basements would be interested in bidding on and trading for playmates featured in quality publications available in barbershops through the United States? (Tom Martella; Washington, D.C.) A. Pay the man, Shirley. Q. If Condoleeza Rice couldn’t negotiate peace in the Middle East as Secretary of State, how did anyone expect her to solve the College Football Playoff problem as a member of the selection committee? (Michael Mael; Potomac, Md.) A. Pay the man, Shirley. Q. Have you ever noticed that Chicago Bears coach Marc Trestman wears the expression of a man contemplating whether or not to pick up a hitchhiker? (Scott D. Shuster; Watertown, Mass.) A. Pay the man, Shirley. Q. Should Redskins’ season tickets for 2015 contain a warning label saying “No Cash Value”? (Jack O’Brien; Fairfax, Va.) A. Pay the man, Shirley. You, too, can enter the $1.25 Ask The Slouch Cash Giveaway. Just email and, if your question is used, you win $1.25 in cash!
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