Another season of NFL football has arrived, bringing with it the promise of brisk Fall air and angry e-mails from people who are deeply offended by sports being mentioned on the front page.
With the most popular and profitable sports league in the United States on its hands, the NFL usually introduces a few minor rule changes every year in an effort to keep from tinkering with a good thing. Not this year. The official rulebook has doubled in size, introducing a slew of new rules and modifying or downright contradicting many policies that have been in place since the league's formation.
These are a few of the more peculiar additions. I'm sure there are many more worth mentioning, but the press has only been able to parse and report on a small fraction of the rule changes.
After every play, all 22 players on the field have exactly fifteen seconds to flex, pose, and thump their chests to demonstrate that they are all the best athlete in the entire world
Absolutely, positively no roughhousing
If a player brings a cupcake to the game, he must bring enough cupcakes for everyone
A fifth quarter has been added to each game, with the third quarter having been removed to make room for it
On-field speed limit of 10 miles per hour
When an offensive lineman and a defensive lineman grapple, tickling will incur a fifteen yard penalty
Quarterbacks can only run diagonally, defensive linemen can only run in a line that's perpendicular or horizontal to the line of scrimmage, and whites are not allowed to play at the running back position
Any player caught sobbing or openly crying must run ten laps around the stadium
In order to establish possession, a wide receiver must bring the ball to his body without losing control, touch both of his feet in the field of play, and go through a bitter court battle with the ball's previous owner
No running near the pool
Members of the coaching staff are not allowed to steal play call signals from the opposing team, nor are they allowed to dive and intercept kisses that were clearly blown toward someone else
Do not feed Torbo
In the event that an athlete dies on the field, the play will effectively be ruled as a "do-over" and his surviving family will be evenly distributed to the rest of his teammates upon the conclusion of the game
Touchdowns are now worth five points, uncanny impersonations of Jack Nicholson are worth eight
Linemen are not allowed to commandeer medical carts and plow through the other team unless they can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that their legs are really tired
The pregame coin toss has been replaced with a pregame discussion of Cormac McCarthy's The Road
Players must pay for any pumpkins they damage while running through Old Man Tarver's crop on the 30 yard line
When the ball is fumbled and like twenty guys are crammed in a pile fighting over it, ten points will be awarded if a player manages to sneak out with the ball and casually clean his fingertips while everyone keeps fighting
During night games, the points are doubled and the uniforms are skimpier
After 140 years of careful consideration, we have finally made our decision: All employees of the NFL are urged to vote for Ulysses S. Grant in the presidential election
TOTAL WRECK - crazy-eyed hound is covered in cobwebs, has a vespiary on back, graffiti on side and savage thirst for boat fuel. Frankly, I'm in over my head. He's in room 115 at Motel 6, yours free. 555-2851
Yes, it's the perfect form for surviving a car crash. But it's also the perfect form for so much more, like surviving the trauma of reading any news headline in 2016.
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