According to Dan Pompei of the National Football Post, the NFL‘s competition committee looked into playing on a wider field last year and could be looking into the idea once again. The safety of the players has been the most important movement in the league the past few years and according to ESPN analyst Bill Polian, that is the reasoning behind a wider field.
“You would have more space and perhaps a safer game. I say that based on my CFL experience. There are less collisions of that type in the Canadian game.”
With all due respect to Mr. Polian, who has plenty of credibility in the game of football, that is a bunch of crap. The football in the CFL is not as good as the game that’s being played in the United States. There’s a reason why all the best football players in the world play in the NFL, because it’s the best league there is. The NFL athletes are bigger, stronger and faster and there is no length of field that will stop that. The size of the field isn’t the issue in the safety of the NFL, it’s the size of the players and their inability to tackle correctly that puts players at risk.
Also, as Houston Texans General Manager Rick Smith noted, a wider field would give players more of a running start, which could mean a bigger impact on collisions. The NFL has already made it illegal to use more than two man wedges and have toyed with the idea of getting rid of kickoffs altogether to avoid collisions at high speeds, so having a wider field that causes bigger collisions doesn’t sound safer to me.
I’m all for making the game safer but widening the field and changing the complexion of the game doesn’t seem like a good option. There are only a few ways to make football safer: teaching the proper techniques to playing the game and having smaller players.
Unfortunately, the size of the players isn’t going to change anytime soon.
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