I grew up with rules allowing contact in the secondary before the ball was released. That was glorious to witness, tactical battles everywhere. You had skilled hand checkers and receivers adept at avoiding the hand check. It indeed slowed the game down in the secondary, with defender and receiver staying in close contact with each other. There were more pure fly patterns down the sideline in those days but not the ridiculous abuse of underneath crossing patterns. Somebody was going to get a hand or shoulder on you and knock you off stride.
When the league was determined to open up the game during the run oriented '70s they got rid of chopping receivers at the line of scrimmage, via the so-called Isaac Curtis Rule, and then instituted the 5 yard zone. As damanref10 described so well, they had no clue how it would evolve. The current interpretation of the rules for safety purposes would work fine if they simply got rid of the 5 yard rule and reverted to liberal hand checking before the release of the ball. Of course, Goodell and the NFL will never risk that, petrified at the prospect of a less pass oriented, lower scoring league. It's indeed asset protection, disguised as player safety. My aunt is a classic example. She loves matching touchdowns. When I told her the Super Bowl might be low scoring and physical she literally got a stunned depressed look on her face and said she might do something else that day.
* The intentional grounding rule is disgraceful. Who cares if the ball made it back to the line of scrimmage? A quarterback has to be a moron to take a sack outside the tackle box. I feel bad for younger fans who grow up with these contrived rules, with no background toward how it used to be. Same for the clock stopping at arbitrary points, as someone else mentioned. It should stop when the play is out of bounds, period.
* Restore the 15 minute halftime
* Tuck rule, obviously
* Go back to sudden death overtime. Kicking off from the 40 is perfect to eliminate the advantage to the receiving team.
* Clock should never stop after a sack
* Clock should not run after a penalty. Too often that simply aids the team with the lead. Frankly, I'm amazed more teams don't abuse it. The defense is desperate to get the ball back and the offense false starts with the clock running. Instead of the clock freezing at that point until the next snap, there goes the countdown again, another 25 seconds. It's like eliminating a time out from the opposition.
* Ball placement needs to be more precise, even if it requires electronic aid. In recent years the referees go out of their way to favor the offense in spotting the ball. One of the most dramatic changes in the 40+ years I've been a fan is the reduction of first down measurements. They used to drag the chains out there all the time, often on 2 or 3 consecutive plays, regardless of situation. Now you almost never see a measurement. It's hardly a coincidence. The referees know where the first down marker is and when it's tight they put it just far enough upfield and quickly signal first down and for the chain gang to move. Nobody is going to convince me it happened that way by chance. I know probability and I darn sure remember the way the game was officiated decades ago. These days the league wants the game to move along so they reduce delays like first down measurements. Referees are obviously told to avoid them unless absolutely necessary. Hence, it's another first down.......!
* Along the same lines, offside should be called when it happens, even if it slows down the game. The referees seldom call offside on kickoffs even though, like holding, it could be flagged on virtually every one. They only whistle the blatant examples. Same with plays from scrimmage. More and more the helmet of the defender is across the line, even if slightly, but they refuse to call it. If you're flagged on one play there's no chance they'll call it the next play, even if it's still not completely fixed. Same holds true for offensive tackles who are more than a yard back from the formation, and offenses that don't set for a full count before the snap of the ball.
* There should be more leeway in catches low to the ground. I can have full control of the ball and it happens to tickle the ground. So what? In super slow motion it's always going to look like the ball moved. I'm absolutely livid when they call those plays incomplete, particularly when it's reversed to incomplete, even though generally I despise the passing game. Referees are at their absolute worst when it comes to evaluating those plays. Same for fans and announcers. There's a desperation to scream the ball moved and therefore incomplete. Meanwhile, imagine yourself holding a diamond, even the most expensive ones in the world. I can hold them in both hands and drag them along the ground, fully in control. No harm, no concern. It's obviously in my possession. But if it's a football we've got to yell incomplete.
Roughing the Passer
Roughing the Kicker
Defender leaving his feet to sack the QB
it appears we are all in favor of some changes and would like to see them made.like many have said the league wants scoring.if they keep to this thinking they should rid them self of many of the rules they have put into this new game of football.are we over looking the fact that perhaps the NFL does not want major law suits due to injuries or other health issues that come with the game.if so it is what it is and dont expect change.
they should however look into the stupid changes such as PI ,TUCK RULE,CLOCK MANAGMENT,A CATCH,THE FOOTBALL MOTION WHEN IT OMES TO FUMBLES and the list can go on.
Definitely agree with the Defensive Pass Interference rule. The only way it should be a spot foul is between 5-15 yards. After that it's a 15 yard penalty and an automatic first down. If it's a REALLY long pass (say over 50 yards) maybe you can add another 5, but these 40-60 yard penalties are ridiculous. The "Patriot" Tuck Rule can go as well. Finally, as Awsi mentioned, get the spot of the ball right...even if you have to put a small chip in the ball. There's nothing as annoying as them signalling a first down right away without a measurement even on the closest of calls.
What they could do is just combine the defensive holding, illegal contact and pass interference into one rule which results in a 10 yard penalty and automatic first down.
I think they should split the difference between where the kickoff used to be and where it is now.
Offensive Holding???? I never see that called when the Phins are on D