NESN.com asked readers to share their thoughts on how to improve the league, and the fans expressed their desire to implement some college rules.
Similar to college football, readers want to see challenges come from the booth, improved sideline reception rules and most notably, no sudden-death overtime.
Here are some of the best suggestions:
"I know this had been an ongoing dialogue, but overtime should definitely be played like it is in college. It affords the opportunity for both teams to have a chance at scoring despite their opponent?s success (or failure,) and adds so much more drama and excitement to the game for both the players and the spectators alike." -Mark Huack
"let the players play." -Guru
"1. No more ice time outs on field goals after the kicking team lines up.
2. Any head blow on a quarterback is an automatic penalty. Teams' entire seasons are wound around the QB. Millions of dollars are on the line in investment in the QB. The NFL needs vertical passing to remain exciting. When the QB is in the pocket and a rusher comes up from the blindside, for example, and takes the QB at the head level, the danger of serious injury is up by multiples. You can't take the head. Fifteen yards. Every time.
3. End the stupid coaches' challenge. The booth needs to review every play, as they do in college. The coaches having to challenge the refs is actually a corruption of the game and its integrity. The NFL needs to get it right ON EVERY PLAY – not ones where a coach with a red hankie forces them to get it right." -Jack O'Hanlan
"I really hate the arbitrariness of flipping a coin in overtime. I would award the choice of whether to kick or receive in overtime to the team who held the ball at the end of regulation time. (If a team scored on the last play of the game, their opponent would get the choice because the scoring team would have had to kick off to them anyway.) That would force active football strategies to be employed at the end of regulation in comtemplation of overtime which also would be good." -Richard
"Just like college, rule that a wide receiver only needs one foot in on a catch. This will:
1) Give the defensive player credit when a receiver is forced out of bounds on a catch.
2) Open up the passing game even more
3) Puts to death the worst rule of all, when a ref subjectively rules a receiver was forced out of bounds.
4) It will make it easier for refs to rule plays and get more calls right from the start." -Scott Sjostrom – Minneapolis Wedding Photographer
"Overtime: first team to score 6 points wins." -Chris Peck
"1. More time slots. How about more games on Thursdays ? Why do you only have games on the opening Thursday and Thanksgiving ? Why not every Thursday night ? The extra time slot means more fans watching.
2. How about IF the receiver gets pushed and then he pushes back it not pass interference.
3. If the head coach uses all 3 of his red coaches' challenge flags and he is successful on all of them he should get one more to use.
4. Show more games on more TV networks." -Dan
"Kick the Point After Touchdown like they do in rugby. This way, the PAT wouldn't be an automatic. In rugby, the ball is placed not in the center of the field at the 2 yard line but at the point where the player entered the zone. They can move the ball back as far as they want to avoid the extreme angle. This also forces some strategy in scoring the TD." -Rich Collins
"I believe they will be using a college like OT system for the playoffs but I would like to see it in the regular season too." -JD
"Make delay of game penalty a loss of down.
Stop allowing the coaches to call time out especially when done to "ice the kicker" -Elaine
"1) Catch the ball means controlling the ball with your hands; get rid of "make a football move" and "control it all the way to the ground"
2) The ground can cause a fumble
3) Related to point 1, if a receiver is controlling the ball in the end zone, it should be ruled a catch and a touchdown without the "football move," etc. junk; just as a runner has control of the ball and crosses the plane means a TD
4) After a receiver or runner is in the end zone, hits shouldn't be allowed; this should be the same situation as hitting players out of bounds" -Rick Ollerman