The Cleveland Browns reportedly are about to hire Kevin Stefanski – previously the offensive coordinator for the Vikes – to be their next head coach. According to reports, the Browns interviewed 8 candidates for the job and Stefanski came out on top. On the assumption that he is indeed ready to be a head coach, it would appear that Stefanski has a good gig waiting for him. There is plenty of physical talent on that roster. His challenge will be to convince the players to get their heads right and get their minds focused on football.
- Baker Mayfield needs to say, “No,” to at least one endorsement/commercial.
- Odell Beckham, Jr. needs to stop telling opponents to “come and get” him.
- Myles Garrett needs to get off his suspension.
On the other hand, I heard one report on sports radio that I have not seen in any printed report, so let me say that IF THE FOLLOWING IS CORRECT, Kevin Stefanski may be looking at a short tenure in Cleveland.
- Most observers agree that owner Jimmy Haslam is meddlesome and that his heavy involvement with the “football side of things” has not been a big plus for the team.
- Supposedly, Stefanski agreed in the interview processes that he would meet weekly with Haslam and analytics guru Paul DePodesta to talks about game plans and the analytics that support that game plan.
That surely sounds to me as if Jimmy Haslam is going to double down on his meddling and cross over into micromanagement territory.
Regarding another recent head coach hiring in the NFL, Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel had this to say:
“Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he hired Mike McCarthy as his new coach because ‘I heard bells’ while interviewing McCarthy. Um, Jerry, you might want to check the battery in your office smoke detector.”
We are only a month away from the launch of XFL 2.0. The XFL will have some different rules from NFL games; you can go over all of them here. The XFL rules pertaining to kickoffs and overtimes are sufficiently complicated that I won’t even try to describe them or analyze them here. Suffice it to say that kickoffs and overtimes in the XFL will bear no resemblance to those same events in NFL or college football games.
Several of the rule differences seem like positive ones to me. For example, after a touchdown, the scoring team has the option to run a single play from the 2 yardline or the 5 yardline or the 10 yardline. If that play gets into the end zone, the try would be worth 1 point or 2 points or 3 points respectively. I like that innovation; those single plays will be more interesting than a place kick.
The XFL will have a 25 second play clock that will start as soon as the officials have placed the ball to determine the line of scrimmage. The objective is to speed up the game and provide more action. Sounds good to me. Moreover, until the final 2 minutes of each half, the clock will not stop between plays for things like going out of bounds or an incomplete pass. The officials will spot the ball for the next play and the clock will count down… This sounds interesting and is worth a try.
Another interesting rule difference involves punts. Any punt that goes out of bounds inside the receiving team’s 35 yardline comes out to the 35 yardline. Same goes for punts that go into the end zone or out of the end zone. That could result in fewer punts and more teams attempting to get a first down on 4th and short.
There will be no “coaches’ challenges” regarding replays. There will be a Replay Official “in a booth above the field” and that official will have the authority to review plays where there are objective criteria for infractions – – such as too many men on the field or a timing error on the game clock. Pass interference calls will not be reviewed.
Here is a rule innovation that does not seem to answer any real need. Offensive teams may throw 2 forward passes on a play so long as the ball never crosses the line of scrimmage. Currently, any forward pass no matter where it is caught means that no other forward pass is permitted. I don’t think this rule will hurt anything, but I cannot figure out why anyone thought it was necessary to improve the product.
I am skeptical about the wisdom of an innovation the XFL plans to try out. Multiple players will have receivers in the helmets so that various coaches can talk to the players. Those communications will be available to the “broadcast partners” and may be put on the air. Just as players who are “mic’ed up” in current games provide meaningless interruptions, this one has the potential to be really useless.
I do not like the XFL adoption of the college rule for a completed pass where only one foot need be inbounds. Look, there are already enough rules to favor the offense; I don’t need yet one more…
Here is the new rule I like the best:
- Halftime will be 10 minutes long.
- That means no halftime extravaganzas in the stadium and a truncated “studio halftime show”. How great is that?
Finally, given this observation by Dwight Perry in the Seattle Times, I suspect that he may appreciate some of the XFL rules to shorten game times:
“According to a study conducted by four universities in Ireland, the average doctor visit there lasts 14.1 minutes.
“Or roughly the same as an NFL video replay-review.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………