Sunday, December 28, 2008

A New Special Teams Unit?

Like money in politics, every change in a sports rule is rife with loopholes. Well, here's an idea.

Every week, like the Bears just did with the Houston Texans, a team snatches up a dubious-looking fumble, the defense celebrates, the Quarterback takes his time, enters into his snap count, and--after one or two minutes of watching replays up in the booth--the coach of the (now-)defense throws the red flag at the last second. The weaselly miscall gets overturned, predictably, and the television announcers have just mumbled awkwardly for 90 awful seconds.

What's more, refs now err on the side of the fumble because they know that there is the cushion of the challenge. More dubious-looking calls are being made on spots and fumbles. Perhaps teams ought to take a page from hockey line-changing and employ a little bit of agility to exploit these new strategic areas.

Why not have a quick-snap unit, all third-string, perhaps, always at the ready? They have a QB sneak in the I-formation ready to run in fifteen seconds. In the initial stages of having such a unit, of course, you would draw the other team off-sides, force them into burning time-outs, or rush them into foolish challenges.

There are other ways that a quick-snap (or, in this case, quick-punt) unit could be used. For instance, let's say it's 4th and 4 around midfield. Why employ "sportsmanship" and wait for the returner to get in position? (Unless there's a rule defining this.) Again, this could be a way to cause timeouts to be burned or force the returning team into a first-down-causing illegal formations, too-many-men-on-the-fields, etc.

Just a thought: what do you think?

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