Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Slipping it past us

Now that I'm done basking in the glow of Tom Crean's press conference (did you ever think you'd see the day when a coach of IU tried to sell his fit in the program based on his relationship to an ex-COLT?), I noticed the NFL passed some rule changes. One of the most important ones got no press at all:

Coaches can now defer a decision on the opening coin toss. This is similar to the college rule. Previously, the winner of the coin toss could only choose to receive or kick off.

This is wonderful. I always thought that winning the toss was a serious disadvantage, especially at home. In the Dome, the crowd would be amped up from the pregame stuff, but if the Colts got the ball first, they had to calm back down. It seemed to make more sense to have that energy channeled into a solid scream during a defensive possession, but the coach never had that option before. I also think that few exchanges are as devastating in a football game than the two consecutive possessions to end the first half and start the second. It will be interesting to see what Dungy elects to do when the Colts win the toss. I hope he elects to defer.

UPDATE: There's been some confusion on this rule, so here's a link to the OLD rule. Here's how it played out:
Colts win the toss to start a game. No matter what they chose (Kick, Receive, or endzone), the Patriots would get the choice to start the second half. Even if the Colts chose to kick off, the Patriots would STILL get the choice to start the second half. If a coach chose to kick first, the other team would get the ball to start the game, and then have the opportunity to chose the ball AGAIN to start the second half. There was NO ability to defer under the old rule. No NFL team ever chose to kick under the old rule (except in a couple of OT games with wind, but that wasn't a pregame choice). There was no advantage to kicking off first, because you still didn't get the ball to start the 2nd half, unless the other coach also inexplicably wanted to kick off.

New Rule: Colts win the toss. They can choose to Kick, Receive, end zone, or defer to the second half to choose. If the Colts deferred, the Patriots would then chose Kick, Receive, or end zone. NO MATTER WHAT THEY CHOOSE, the Colts now get the option to choose for the second half.

Read the original rule carefully, then read the bold italicized statement in the original post above.


chipbennett said...

Another two changes are pretty significant, also:

1) Elimination of the force-out rule. Now a receiver must get two feet in-bounds, unless carried out by a defender after making the reception. No more "force-out" judgement calls.

2) Elimination of the inadvertent face mask penalty. Now only the flagrant (grasping/twisting) foul will be called.

I like both changes, and can see both having a pretty big impact.

Deshawn Zombie said...

It'll be interesting how they call the facemask thing. If they just call nothing instead of 5 yards, then ok. But if they call every touch of the facemask a 15 yard penalty, it'll be nuts.

My understanding of the forceout rule is that you still can't 'carry' a player OB. That is get underneath when they jump and just throw them out. Pushing out is ok. My sense is that this will hurt the Colts.

Jacob Burch said...

I'm a little confused by your comment on the Coin toss--your point seems to be praising the ability to choose to start on defense after this ruling, but that has always been the case. The difference after this rule is a winning coach/captain could elect to have the other team decide which side to start on, and the winning team could then pick which side of the field to start on.

The logic I've heard from the colts front is they always want to start with the ball in order to try and build a lead and kick the "make the opponent play from behind" tampa-2 philosophy into gear as soon as possible.

Deshawn Zombie said...

no, it has't always been the case. Until this year, the coach had no ability to defer. If you chose an end instead of the ball, the other coach would get the option at the start of second half to chose the end or the ball (essentially choosing the end twice). The way it worked on Madden was NOT the way the NFL actually had it work. You could NOT defer before this rule change. It's one of the most misunderstood rules in the NFL (largely due to Madden)

Joel said...

Wait, DZ, I don't think you're talking about the coin toss thing correctly. The old rule was that if you won the toss, you could elect to kick off or receive, and the loser of the toss always got the choice of end zone. Now, the winner of the toss can pick an end zone and make the loser of the toss elect to kick or receive. That's the only change. It's not like coaches couldn't elect to kick off before...they did it all the time. And I don't see how this would have affected the Colts decision making at all, considering they played in a Dome.

Deshawn Zombie said...

No coach in the NFL EVER elected to kick off under the old rule. The old rule was the choice between the ball or the end zone. If you chose the end zone, the other team got the ball. Then at the start of the 2nd half, the other team got the choice of ball or endzone. There was NO option to defer. The game was NOT the same as it is in Madden. No coach ever chose anything but the ball in pro football. Trust me. I'm right on this.

Julio Queiroz said...

The force-out rule is good in the sense that eliminates subjective calling of the catches on the sidelines.

Joel said...

Okay, I FINALLY understand, after consulting the NFL Rulebook, which says:

1. The toss of coin will take place within three minutes of kickoff in center of field. The toss will be called by the visiting captain before the coin is flipped. The winner may choose one of two privileges and the loser gets the other:
(a) Receive or kick
(b) Goal his team will defend
2. Immediately prior to the start of the second half, the captains of both teams must inform the officials of their respective choices. The loser of the original coin toss gets first choice.

Wow....I never knew that. So that literally makes it impossible to elect to kickoff, because then the other team would then get the ball to start the game AND the third quarter.

I apologize for arguing with you. I can't believe that was actually the rule, that's gotta be the stupidest rule ever. Why in the world did it take that long to change it?

coltsfanawalt said...

Thankfully, the competition committee and owners started playing Madden, resulting in them waking up and smelling the coffee.

Anonymous said...

Off topic, but have you read The Paolantonio Report: The Most Overrated and Underrated Players, Teams, Coaches, and Moments in NFL History? I love his fictional account of SB XLI, a make believe interception by Brian Urlacher and a make-believe moment where Peyton apparently blame Dallas Clark for the phantom interception.

And he makes a very shallow attempt to say Peyton didn't deserve the MVP award, despite a masterful job of dicing the bears into slaw.

But he's an Eagles fan. I hold it against him and so should you.

big dave said...

Excellent rule change regarding the coin toss. I've talked about this on my podcast before. I always hated when we won the toss (home or away, the crowd is in your favor if the other team has the ball first), and so I would wish like hell that we would lose it. It seemed like we won the toss more than we lost it, however. Now, winning the toss is not penalizing like it was before. Still, I think Polian/Dungy/Moore would like to get the ball first at home, and so the rule probably won't change much unless they change their philosophy.