GOSSIP CORNER: NFL Taking After CFL?
The CFL, while in it’s own right is an incredible football league, has always been overshadowed by its American counterpart. Many players use the CFL as a stepping-stone to get to the much-admired NFL, and while many Canadians follow the NFL religiously, not many Americans follow the CFL.
So imagine the surprise when the National Football Post reported that the NFL is entertaining the idea of adopting some CFL standards.
The incentive to help cut down on concussion injuries and make the NFL safer for players has the NFL looking north to it’s Canadian counterpart. The CFL uses a larger field – it’s about thirty five yards wider and thirty yards longer – and doesn’t see anywhere near the same amount of concussion issues or lawsuits as the NFL does. Now that could be due to a different mindset or money – but there’s also the fact that there are less bone-crunching hits down the middle of the field, because there’s more space for a player to use.
This is where the NFL is really starting to consider the idea; with spreading the same amount of players over a larger area, that leaves more room for your receivers to utilize and therefore should reduce the amount of high-caliber tackles that can result in concussions.
As Bill Polian stated in NFP’s Sunday Blitz, “It’s a radical idea, but I think it’s worth thinking about. 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.” Polian helped to build Grey Cup winners in both Montreal and Winnipeg, before going onto the NFL and winning executive of the year six times.
Obviously the game will change a bit; there’s a larger opportunity for scoring, because the offense has more room to work with and the defense gets a little more spread out. There’s also the argument that it could lead to bigger hits, as a defender could gather more speed, but as Polian explains, “We know the most ferocious hits come from guys who are ten yards apart and lay each other out. You have fewer higher power collisions in the Canadian League than here.”
With this idea of widening the field also comes a more economical issue – as Yardbarker.com points out – changing the stadiums to accommodate the new field. With widening the field and leaving the seats where they are, the coaches and bench would be against the wall. This could filter down to college and high school fields and stadiums, posing an issue for funding to be able to make the stadiums bigger and accommodate this wider field. This opens up the idea that the NFL could widen the hash marks – the same as college fields, which could spare some of the scrambling in trying to meet new standards.
Regardless of the idea, the NFL is continuing to do its research and explore this new idea of increasing the safety of its players. There’s no definite answer to whether or not the NFL will in fact enlarge their playing fields, but it’s definitely in consideration.
[Photo Credit: Screen Cap.]