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Added July 25th, 2016 by Ian
NFL

NFL considers narrowing the uprights

The NFL is considering narrowing the uprights and will place computer chips the league’s footballs to help them come to a decision on the matter. The senior vice-president of officiating for the NFL, Dean Blandino, said the goal posts may be brought closer together to make it more challenging for players to kick field goals and extra points. The league announced that 85 per cent of field goal attempts have been successful over the last three years and it may be becoming a bit too easy for them. Blandino said the league will study the situation this season by placing a computer chip in the balls during the 2016 preseason schedule.

The computer technology will tell the league exactly how far inside the goalposts the extra points and field goals have been kicked. If the information is helpful the league may decide to use computer chips in footballs for Thursday night games during the regular season. Blandino told the media that the data gathered will help determine if the goal posts should be narrowed and what the right distance would be. He added that if there are changes to the uprights they could come as early as the 2017 campaign. Blandino stated, “You never know. We’ll see what the data tells us. The committee will discuss it and then make a recommendation for 2017 if they feel we need to go that route. But I wouldn’t know at this point, without seeing how it goes this year.”

Currently, the uprights have a distance of 18.5 feet between them. In 2015 the NFL experimented with them by narrowing the posts to 14 feet during the Pro Bowl game. Adam Vinatieri, a kicker with the Indianapolis Colts, had a hard time with the narrower uprights as missed a couple of 35-yard kicks for extra points as well as a field goal attempt from 38 yards out. Blandino also said the league plans on enforcing its current rules more efficiently this year and mentioned there may be an eighth official added to games to decide controversial calls.

There is a new touchback rule in place this year which is designed to cut down on the amount of kickoff returns, since it’s viewed as the game’s most dangerous play. The ball returner will be allowed to take a kneel-down when he receives the ball in the end zone. However, some experts believe this will lead to more kickoff returns as kickers will try to keep the ball from making it to the end zone as they hope the returner won’t make it to the 25-yard line. This is supposed to be a year-long experimental rule during the upcoming regular season and the league will decide whether or not to keep it after this year. Blandino added that the league will be cracking down on low hits to the quarterback when he’s in the passing mode as well as crown-of-the-helmet hits on runners who are outside of the tackle box.

 
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