At a time when football fans finally are waking up to the demise of the kickoff, another football staple is about the go the way of the Stegosaurus. And a game that many regard as a dinosaur could soon be extinct, at least as we know it.
With the NFL finally admitting what some suspected for the past two months — the new helmet rule does apply to offensive and defensive linemen — the three-point stance inevitably will be gone. And the NFL will have gotten rid of it without actually getting rid of it.
That may be news to some of the people on the inside. Saints coach Sean Payton, a member of the Competition Committee, said recently on PFT Live that the three-point stance won’t be going away “in our lifetime.” But as coaches like Payton adjust to the interpretation that finally was unveiled on Tuesday, they’ll realize that the three-point stance has become an invitation to violate the new helmet rule.
“He’s got to get his head up,” NFL senior V.P. of officiating Al Riveron said Tuesday regarding offensive linemen.
The only way to keep his head up is to never put it down. The three-point stance comes from the ability to fire out and slam into the opponent. With linemen in such close quarters, it will be impossible for an offensive lineman to blast forward into a defensive lineman without potentially hitting the opponent with a helmet that necessarily is low.
Again, this likely surprised people like Payton. When I asked him earlier this month whether the new helmer rule will alter the between-the-tackles running game, Payton said, “I don’t think a lot. I think you know working a coach up, guys that are pulling. But I don’t think it’s going to change much at all.”
With offensive linemen now obligated to get their heads up when blasting forward at the same, it’s going to change a lot. It’s going to change to the point where it’s not recognizable.
And it’s going to open the door for someone to start a football league that will play games not in the spring but during football season — and that will play football not like the NFL is hell bent on playing it but like football used to be played.