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What’s the one rule change you’d like to see in the NFL?

The Seahawks have certainly benefited from one controversial rule on many occasions.

Detroit Lions v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

The NFL amends its rulebook every year, and yet we’re nowhere nearer to universal satisfaction with the way the game is regulated. Here are just some of the rules (or lack thereof) that come to mind as most heavily scrutinized:

  • Ball-carriers fumbling the ball through the end zone boundary is a turnover even though the defense never had possession. The alternative suggestions are possession at the 1-yard line or from where the spot where the ball was fumbled. I can think of a few times the Seahawks may have benefited from the existing rule...
  • Pass interference is an automatic spot foul in the NFL, as opposed to the maximum of 15 yards in the college ranks.
  • Roughing the passer isn’t reviewable, and still won’t be this upcoming season.
  • All post-snap defensive fouls are automatic first downs. This didn’t used to be the case, but the 5-yard face mask penalty went away and so did that rule.
  • Teams can now play multiple Thursday Night Football games.

I left out any catch rules because I’ll be damned if I know what they are off the top of my head.

If you got to be unilaterally in charge of the NFL rulebook, what’s the one change you’d make to benefit the game? “Seattle Seahawks aren’t allowed to lose” is the obvious correct answer here, but I’d like to have the answers rooted in reality.

I’m going to go out of left field a bit to something that was implemented in the XFL that, in my opinion, would be great to see in the NFL.

On punts, the XFL places touchbacks at the 35-yard line as opposed to the NFL’s 20-yard line. Not only are you punished for a punt going into the end zone, but all punts that land out of bounds inside the opposition’s 35-yard line will also result in a touchback and the ball brought out to the 35. In other words, the coffin corner ceases to exist in this scenario.

The XFL advertised the rule as encouraging more punt returns, but I think at an NFL level the real goal would be to encourage more teams to go for it on 4th down, including in their own territory. Suppose you punt on 4th and 2 from the opposition’s 45-yard line. Chances are the 4th down analytics models would say “go for it” but the decision is to pin the other team deep and play defense. If you have Dareke Young on your team to down the ball at the 1-yard line, then more power to you. Otherwise, a touchback under the NFL’s rules would produce a net of 25 yards, which stinks, but not nearly as much as a net of 10 yards. Sounds like added incentive to go for it instead of cede possession in hopes of playing the field position.

We didn’t really see this type of aggression in the XFL on 4th down but I suspect that wouldn’t be the case in the NFL. This would incidentally put a premium on quality punters who can do their jobs properly.

Give us your rule change proposals in the comments section below!