Exclusive Content   Join Now

Field goals: let's change the NFL rules

Nov 18, 2008 5:05 PM

Burnt Offerings by Stan Bergstein |

Inspired by the success of Mr. Obama’s recent Internet campaign, I am starting one to bring change to professional football.

I doubt I can collect 63.7 million votes for the proposal, but if I can get six or seven guys down at Louie’s Bar to agree with me it would bring a sense of satisfaction and power.

The change is simple, but can save the game.

Ban field goals under 45 yards.

It makes no sense for 22 guys to smash one another back and forth for 60 minutes, in a game clearly getting more violent to satisfy the Coliseum mentality of our citizens, and then have some perp half their size walk on the field, his uniform pristine and untouched, and win or lose the game in seconds after they have battled bloodily for hours.

This is not some new sentiment. We have despised the short field goal for years, having watched it rob teams that outplayed their opponents in all departments except points, losing when Our Hero does his mini-second starring role.

The actual beginning of all this probably can be dated precisely, to 10 years ago next week. That was the game in Miami where the Dolphins beat the New England Patriots, 12-9, without scoring a touchdown. Olindo Mare kicked four field goals – three of them in the last 10 minutes including overtime – one a 43-yarder. Under my new revised system, with the support of my guys at Louie’s, none would have counted.

That game marked the first time in five years that Miami won a game without scoring a touchdown. Even Pete Carroll, who was coaching the Patriots back then, was impressed by Miami’s defense that held New England to 26 yards rushing.

Dan Marino was still throwing for the Dolphins then, and he tossed for 279 yards that game, but still could not win it with his effort. They called in Mare to tie the game with a 25-yard field goal, not allowed under the Stan System or the guys at Louie’s, and then won it when he returned to kick another non-Stan-dard of 43 yards. Close, but no cigar, even though Mare and the Dolphins got theirs that game.

If a guy can kick one from 45 yards out, or longer, he’s worth gold. If he can’t, he should be worth frankincense and myrrh, or a smile. I checked with the Three Wise Men, on their way to somewhere – I know it wasn’t Louie’s – and that was their opinion too.