Routinely, baseball gets blasted for its games being too long. Basketball hears it all the time about how the last five minutes of clock time generally take roughly the length of a Presidential election cycle. God help us. Now, it’s time to take college football to task. Seriously, is the National Championship game over yet? Or are we pausing again for the 47th time to check with the replay booth… or to step off another penalty? Modern football provides us with an overabundance of excitement — miles removed from the traditional (and thankfully outdated) “three yards and a cloud of dust” era. But rules makers are still doing everything they can to momentum-kill the whole thing. I propose we tighten it up in three areas and we might be able to get games closer to three hours than four.
First: I’m seeing way too much yellow. The main culprits are false starts and holding penalties. They eat up too much time. So figure out a way to loosen those rules and let ’em play.
Second: Replay is indispensable. It’s also too prevalent and drawn out. The fix on this is not hard. Set limits on how many plays get looked at and put a ticking clock on the ones that do.
Third: (And this has two advantages) Get rid of kickoffs. You may think that’s radical, but it’s not the first time I’ve called for its eradication. Not only will it save time, but it will take the safety revolution to the next level. The greatest percentage of serious injuries occur on kickoffs. It’s the play that gives tacklers the most time to build up a head of steam, making for the most violent collisions. Start all possessions at the 25 yard line.
I enjoyed the Rose Bowl and Clemson-Bama games immensely, but could’ve been in and out of a double feature and still caught the fourth quarters.