In Foxsports.com, I was reading an article today written by John Czarnecki (the article) and there was a potentially big afterthought in the article that I feel merits being noted.
I think the potential for improved passing stats is definitely there. Not that it will be anything outrageous (like 25% better), but very possibly 10% better.Better footballs
In its zeal for competitive fairness, the NFL went off the deep end years ago when it came to using new, shiny (and often slick) footballs on game day. Too many times, the ball would carelessly fall out of a quarterback's hand because the surface was too slick.
In a league that prides itself for athletic brilliance, quarterbacks were often viewed as totally inept when dropping the ball. Even players like Brett Favre, who has huge hands, would bring a ball back to throw and watch it slide out the back when cocking to throw.
Well, kudos to the league and the NFL competition committee for attempting to correct this silly use of footballs. Beginning next season, the visiting quarterback can bring his own bag of 12 footballs to a game for use. No longer will he have to use the game balls provided by the home team.
Of course, the footballs will still have to pass the inspection test of the game officials, because the league frowns on doctored footballs. In the old days, kickers and quarterbacks were known to use sandpaper on ends of footballs and even wet them down and toss them into a dryer to stretch the bladder of the ball, making it thicker. Every team's equipment men knew all kinds of tricks to help their players.
I always thought some of these regulations were idiotic, believing it was better for a quarterback to throw a football he preferred than to watch him throw one incompletion after another. There is nothing artistic watching a quarterback fumbling around out there or to watch a ball slide right through a receiver's gloved-hands because it's too slick. Competitive fairness actually went overboard.
Peyton Manning and Tom Brady led the charge for correcting this football situation by getting 20 other starting quarterbacks to sign a petition requesting a game-day change. Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher, co-chair of the competition committee, found no competitive advantage or disadvantage with the Manning suggestion and the proposal passed at last month's owners' meeting. It actually flew under the media radar.
"It was pretty much a no-brainer on trying to get it changed," Manning said recently. "It just makes sense. You throw your footballs at home so you ought to be able to throw the footballs you want on the road as well. Nobody wants to see a receiver wide open and the ball two-hopped to him because the ball is slick."
To prevent any sideline confusion, the dozen or so footballs will be stamped with the visiting team's name before being put into play. So when Brady visits Indianapolis, he'll be throwing a "Patriots" football.
Every home-team quarterback has prepared the game-day footballs to his liking with the help of an equipment man, ensuring that they feel comfortable to throw.
"The referees will still check them," Manning said. "You can't be throwing a flat football or an old football. They still want to see that shiny NFL logo on the ball."
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