It is inconceivable to think rule changes, ostensibly put in place, to increase the profitability of the NFL has dramatically changed professional football since the mid-70s. To be sure, the League will always evolve, but the eco-system put in place in the 2000s have been done with a hatchet instead of a scalpel. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much consideration for preserving athleticism on the field of play.
In the new book, ‘The Asterisk’ the author gives a detailed examination of the effects of rules put in place to protect less athletic quarterbacks and the devaluation of true athleticism on the field of play. Protecting one-dimensional, and stationary drop-back quarterbacks have created a ripple effect of the change to every defensive position and a spillover of success for the New England Patriots’ system. The book re-imagines the sport evolving around more mobile and athletic quarterbacks to preserve the excitement of the sport exhibited on the college level.
The blame is placed squarely on Roger Goodell’s shoulders, as fans become increasingly impatient with the litany of rules limiting the wholesome enjoyment of the sport. The author devotes an entire chapter on Pittsburgh Steelers’ tight end catch and then no-catch on December 17, 2017, against the New England Patriots. The Asterisk book is available on Amazon.com, Google Play and will be available at Barnes & Noble during the upcoming football season.
Chronology of Rule Changes (In ‘The Asterisk’ book)
In 1976 greater rules were put in place to protect the quarterbacks
In 1978 rules were put in place to allow receivers to get off the line of scrimmage, fans and analysts later dubbed the rules ‘The Mel Blount Rule
In 1985 one of the great innovators in professional football Tex Schramm stated, “I think we’ve done about all we can do to protect the quarterback when he’s in the act of passing, which is a defenseless position for him.” (http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1985-01-13/sports/8501030633_1_defensive-offensive-linemen-larry-rakestraw)
In 1994, with the enormous contract with Fox, rules were piled on to protect the quarterback again (http://www.slate.com/articles/sports/sports_nut/2014/09/_1994_nfl_rules_how_a_series_of_pass_friendly_changes_saved_a_moribund_league.html)
In the 2000s rules were applied to protect wide receivers by limiting engagement with defender throughout their routes.
The NFL asserts what is known as ‘The Tuck Rule’ in the 2001 AFC Divisional Playoff game between the New England Patriots and the Oakland Raiders; still considered one of the most controversial calls in professional sports.
In 2007 the New England Patriots were disciplined by the league for videotaping New York Jets’ defensive coaches’ signals from an unauthorized location. US Senator Arlen Specter stated Goodell informed him personally that Bill Belichick videotaped his opponents since the year 2000.
In 2008, after a season injury to Tom Brady rule changes to protect stationary, drop-back and immobile quarterbacks were dubbed ‘The Brady Rules.’ Roger Goodell enforced rules with massive fines and on-field enforcement: (http://archive.boston.com/sports/football/patriots/articles/2009/03/24/brady_rule_steps_taken_to_protect_qbs_knees/)
In 2014 The New York Times reported on the inequities artificially applied to the quarterback position.
In 2015 Tom Brady was fined for his actions involving what became known as ‘Deflategate’ and an ESPN ‘Outside The Lines’ report indicated that cheating within the New England Patriots’ organization was far more extensive than what was revealed by the NFL.
In 2018 NFL Owners Agree to change the rule regarding the definition of a catch. The League put rules in place to prevent contact using the crown of the head. ‘The Asterisk’ is published.
Originally Published in ‘The Asterisk‘ Blog