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Two Critical Fixes The NFL Competition Committee Needs To Make Regarding Running Quarterbacks

Todd Kirkland. Getty Images.

While all the negative attention after Championship Sunday seems to be on the terrible inconsistencies of the stripes on the field I have my fingers pointing higher above on the pinstripes in the league office where the NFL Competition Committee safely hides from the fact that they have zero clue how to address a glaring issue in today's game. I'm looking at you up there, Chairman Rich McKay! (handsome elder gentleman if I'm being honest)

Dual-threat "running" quarterbacks are causing a big problem in today's NFL. Hang on now, hang on! What I mean is the rules created by suits like the handsome gentleman above who - sure - could use some help raising that tie up an inch and half or so, aren't keeping pace with the today's speedy gunslingers. The first issue has to do with quarterbacks (not necessarily, but usually) going out of bounds on a run. The second has to do with quarterbacks sliding in the open field. Both problems have a common cause - the quarterback is expected to know when to give himself up before a defender commits his momentum to tackling him. We've been brainwashed to think the opposite - that it's up to the defender - but this is preposterous and wrong and dumb in the post Adam "Pacman" Jones and Vontaze Burfict era. 

So have a seat and hear me out Mr. Starbucks suit. We need to have a chat because both of these issues reared their heads in this year's playoffs.

Problem #1: Quarterbacks Running Out of Bounds Too Late

I dug into the numbers a little bit myself here and noticed quarterbacks are finding themselves running out of bounds more than twice as much as in the 2000s, and who knows how much more than the 1990s or earlier. 

In most cases quarterbacks run at 80 percent speed while the closest defender is three or four yards away, so no one gets hurt and it's no big deal. But sometimes the stakes are high leading the quarterback to sprint for every inch he can. That brings us to the Mahomes/Ossai situation. I stopped the clip of the hit at the moment Joseph Ossai first makes contact and you can see below it's nowhere near as egregious as it appeared on the live broadcast. Not to mention the reason Mahomes fell afterwards was due to incidental leg contact anyway. 

You see Mr. Starbucks, since you've only played ball at a high school level likely back when the forward pass was freshly legislated into existence, you can't comprehend the fact that a defender running 20 mph can't look at Mahomes' feet while also looking at his target - his opponent's torso. The rule expects them to be able to do this revealing the Competition Committee doesn't know ball.

So what can be done about this? I'll give you a hint and it has 16 legs in the photo above. MAKE THE GODDMAN SIDELINES WIDER AND MOVE TEAM PERSONNEL THE FUCK AWAY FROM ENSUING PLAYS.

Sorry, that was aggressive. I hope you didn't spill your coffee. Seriously though - the only reason it's a penalty to hit a player out of bounds is because it makes a very dangerous situation with all the people on the sidelines. That's why it's cool to inadvertently hit a player after he crosses into the endzone before the whistle but not the sideline. 

OK, let's take a field trip to the NFL archives and locate the blueprints for bench dimensions established who knows when. Don't forget your coffee. 

Here's a question. Is it entirely necessary to allot space behind the benches for the media to have nothing better to do than stare at the bench player's butts? How about we move them to either side of the bench here and move everything back to allow continuation of a play on the sidelines? Why not also give defenses a grace zone of the entire white painted six-foot wide sideline strip for any contact prior to a whistle being blown? Quarterbacks can then use that knowledge at their discretion and still be ready to take a shot until they cross completely off the strip. If a QB get's first struck after completely exiting the white line - make it rain yellow. 

Wah-lah! Problem solved. Someone give me a Starbucks. 

Let's continue on. 

Problem #2: Quarterbacks Sliding Too Late In Open Field

This is the more common issue I've noticed numerous times this year that literally no one seems to understand but me. This one hits home because my Chicago Bears are are one of the biggest culprits too. The amount of unnecessary roughness penalties on scrambling quarterbacks is more than double what is was in the 2000s with 2022 second highest only to an apparently wild 2013 season.

You'd think penalties designed to deter DBs from making such reckless decisions would - I don't know - deter it from happening. Interesting how the whole idea is to make the game safer yet at the same time having no effect on making said game safer. Almost like it's really to make the NFL's ass more covered? You know, a story a judge in a class action suit would find believable. Hmm… Interesting. Here's a thought. What if the reason the penalties are having no effect is because aside from a few actual bad DB decisions, it's really the quarterback's fault for sliding too late?

Take the end of the first half of the Wild Card game when Geno Smith was trying to get as many yards as possible to get into field goal range with seconds left. Like with Mahomes, it was a critical point in the game where Geno was hell bent on making a great play.

Everyone was conned into thinking this was a purposeful, dirty hit. It wasn't. You can clearly pause it and see Ward square up and begin his commitment to the tackle before Smith was in his sliding motion. By the time Ward could tell a slide was coming, the only way to stop would be to defy laws of physics. If you want to tell me it was dirty because Ward went low towards Smith's head then congratulations for having a brain the size of a snail. Ward targeted what would have been the midsection of a non-sliding Geno. The entire point of Ward dropping down was to make sure his target wasn't Geno's head. 

So what's the fix? It's pretty simple. Ban sliding. It's fucking dangerous. You're literally asking a player with zero game-speed training to be able to tell when the right time to slide is so he can gain as many yards as possible in critical game situations before a defender commits to a tackle. And when he inevitably underestimates when is too late, he's literally (well, figuratively) putting his head on a tee to be hit by a defender who is ironically trying to avoid the head by going midsection. I think the ancient Greeks would call this a tragedy. 

Now I already know what you're thinking. Without the option to slide the quarterback is left vulnerable to get tackled which takes a toll. Here's my official response to this. (Looks left… looks right) THEN DON'T FUCKING RUN. 

Sorry. Lost my cool again! For real though, just do the Peyton Manning forward dive/fall thing he used to do that looked like he was doing a crouch and cover drill instead. I just don't understand how everyone can be so wrong on this issue and my Copernicus ass is left being right pouting to himself about it all alone. Just remember this blog when people come around to this. That's all I ask. 

Oh, and one last thing Mr. McKay. Maybe go with a half windsor next time. Enjoy your coffee.

- Jeffro