The Miami Dolphins don’t know their 2010 schedule yet, in fact no one does but if a new proposal at the owners meeting takes hold, the Dolphins will at least know of 3 possibilities each year after. The Patriots, the Jets, or the Buffalo Bills. This year? Likely the Bills…if this passes.
A proposal has been made that would make week 17 in the NFL…divison weekend. Each team would be paired against another division team. The thought is that in this case teams will be less likely to sit their starters and the final weekend may have a bit more meaning and intrigue.
I have been a proponent for a “division” weekend for a long time. The thought of one weekend (through Monday) with all teams playing a division game would be interesting. I like to think of it as “Rivalry Week”. Pitting those teams against each other in week 17 is even better.
Imagine knowing that in week 17 the Cowboys would play the Redskins or the Dolphins would face the Jets. A 3 year rotation would make the most sense with each team facing the others in their division on the final weekend of that 3 year span and then rotating back to the beginning. Or they could make it a 6 year rotation with each team hosting a home game against each of the others in that time period.
The NFL can come up with some really weird rules but this one makes the most sense by far. The networks who carry the live broadcasts will immediately benefit as well. Cleveland vs. Cincy is a lot more appealing than say Cleveland vs. Detroit. Plus, a team that is doing very poorly in the division really gets a chance to play spoiler to a division rival who may be doing really well.
Personally? I love this idea and hope they get this one on the books. If they do, expect the Phins to wrap the season against the Bills. Even if the Patriots open against the Jets. The initial thoughts are that those two will be fighting for the division and the NFL will want to showcase that.
The NFL has passed a few other rules this week. Of course there is the OT change that will allow the team who doesn’t win the coin toss to have a chance at getting the ball in OT. That rule is also expected to make it’s way into conversation come the May owners meetings for use in the regular season.
Another rule is a college rule that states any “ball-carrier” who loses their helmet will halt the play immediately. Meaning no barreling downfield like Jason Whitten without his cap on. The play will be ruled dead at the spot of forward progress.
Still another rule that adds to the safety of players is the hitting of a defensless player. The rule used to protect the hitting of a defenseless WR with all other players free game, now that same rule has been extended to all players on the field.
The other new rules are mostly yawners. A ball that hits a hanging scoreboard in Dallas will be re-played, if a ball hits a camera or a camera wire dangling over the field, that will be re-played as well. Any personal foul penalties that occur at the end of the first half will be assessed at the start of the second half. And finally, on field goals and extra points the long-snapper can not have a defensive player lined up over top of him.