Sports | May 20, 2019 1:32 pm

NFL Experts Can’t Agree on How to Fix Pro Football

Peter King asked 25 league insiders how to make the NFL better

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie of the Raiders on Brandin Cooks of the Rams. (Thearon W. Henderson/Getty)
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie of the Raiders on Brandin Cooks of the Rams. (Thearon W. Henderson/Getty)
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Coming off a season that saw its ratings rebound after tumbling a bit in 2017, the NFL is in fairly good shape heading into the 2019 regular season.

But it could be in even better shape if the league implements a few changes.

What those actual changes would be, however, is a matter of debate. That’s why Peter King of Football Morning in America asked 25 NFL experts what they would do to make pro football better. From league executives to coaches to referees, King’s panel members all offered different takes about what can be done to keep the gridiron great.

One idea, championed by both Scott Hanson of NFL RedZone and Booger McFarland of Monday Night Football on ESPN, is to make the onside kick an actual play.

According to  Hanson of NFL RedZone and Booger McFarland, the NFL would be better served by allowing teams to run a play after scoring a touchdown to determine if they are able to retain possession. They suggest different things (running a fourth-and-15 offensive play from the 35 or running a play from the 10-yard line and needing to score), but both sound more exciting than the onside kick. (Last season there were only four successful onside kicks in 52 attempts.)

Other suggestions range from making every play reviewable to eliminating replay entirely to ensuring each team a possession in overtime to seeding the playoffs by record, not division title.

Neil Hornsby, the founder of Pro Football Focus, has a suggestion the owners will never go for because it will cut down on advertising dollars which is interesting nonetheless: shorten the length of NFL games.

“I would propose that the clock run on incomplete passes till the last four minutes of each half,” Hornsby told King. “Then the clock would stop on incompletions. I love the NFL, obviously, but the games are too long, and there are many dead periods in games. There is no reason a football game cannot be played in two hours and 35 minutes, or 2:40. The NCAA is far worse; it’s ridiculous to stop the game on every first down. Who wants a four-hour football game? One of the things I loved about watching the Alliance of American Football games this year was the speed of the game. It just makes the game more enjoyable when you’re not sitting around, sitting around, sitting around waiting for the next play.”

To see the rest of King’s panel’s suggestions, head over to ProFootballTalk.

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