Two days before the Super Bowl, Commissioner Roger Goodell said that he’d like to see the league adopt a rule that mandates ejection if a player commits two personal fouls. And it became an interesting point of discussion during the Super Bowl, after multiple players were flagged twice for personal fouls.
But it’s not nearly that simple, if the rule is adopted. Officials already are reluctant to eject players because of the potential competitive impact on games. If they know that two personal fouls will get a guy ejected, they’ll be less willing to throw those flags, too.
“That has a lot of issues associated with it,” Giants co-owner John Mara recently told NFL Media regarding Goodell’s idea. “What is the list of personal fouls that will qualify for a player to be ejected? Do we want to eliminate personal fouls and just make it for unsportsmanlike conduct? What we want to avoid is a situation where a guy grabs a facemask and that’s the second personal foul and he gets ejected. Or if he is going to block a pass and he hits the quarterback’s head, and that’s the second personal foul. It gets to be a very tricky discussion, and I don’t think we’re close to a resolution.”
Mara said that the resolution could be the development of a point of emphasis that players who engage in over-the-top misconduct should be ejected by officials, regardless of the potential impact on the outcome of a game.
Whatever rule is adopted, the NFL needs to do something to ensure that officials will keep games from getting out of control. Assuming, that is, that the NFL actually wants to keep that from happening, given that fans tend to find those types of games even more compelling.