How USFL’s different rules impacted the league

0 Comments

Peter King is on vacation until July 18, and he lined up some guest writers to fill his Monday spot on Football Morning in America. Today’s guest is Paul Burmeister, a play-by-play voice and studio host for NBC Sports.

Mike Pereira created a buzz for the USFL before the games even started. The USFL head of officiating rolled out the league’s own brand of rules that didn’t reinvent the wheel, but unapologetically put its own spin on things.

“We wanted our own tweaks to make it feel a little different,” said Pereira, former NFL vice president of officiating and current FOX rules analyst.

THE KICKOFF

“We wanted kickoff returns back in the game,” Pereira said. “But how could we do it, AND make sure it’s safe?”

Pereira and his team took three measures to thread that needle.

• First, the USFL moved the kickoff back to the 25-yard line, quite a difference from the NFL’s 35, where 60 percent of the kickoffs end in touchbacks.

Mission accomplished, as 80 percent of kickoffs were returned during the USFL regular season.

• Second, regarding the “how to make it safe” issue, the technical definition reads like this in the USFL officiating manual:

III Rule 6b
“Kicking team players must have one foot within five yards of the kickers restraining line.”

111 Rule 6d
“Receiving team must align with a minimum of 8, and a maximum of 9 players, within 10 yards beyond the restraining line.”

Bottom line: The players on the kicking team and receiving team are closer together, similar to a punt. You don’t have the receiving team getting way downfield, gaining separation, with the time to set up and take on the kicking team charging at full speed.

The result: fewer, less severe collisions, and more potential for big plays.

• The third tweak was the most subtle, but also served its intended purpose. Once a kick went past 20 yards, it wasn’t a live ball. Basically, it became a punt: Only the receiving team could advance it. So the incentive to pooch or bloop kick with the hope of recovering the ball was removed.

Pereira was pleased see to see more kick returns, with safety in mind. “We loved having kickoff returns back in the game,” he said.

ROUGHING THE PASSER

I always see the game through the lens of an ex-quarterback—I played QB at Purdue in 1989-93—and I’m mostly in favor of the passing-friendly rules that are abundant in the NFL.  But even I shake my head multiple times each Sunday at the flags thrown for breathing on the quarterback.

It’s okay for quarterbacks to get hit the moment after they throw the ball. That contact—if in the spirit of football, not in the spirit of injuring the quarterback—shouldn’t cost the defense 15 yards. And Pereira agrees.

“It sometimes doesn’t look like a foul, it doesn’t feel like a foul, but it’s still costs the defense a huge chunk of yardage,” he said.

So, the USFL installed a rule that all Roughing the Passer penalties could be reviewed. And if deemed non-vicious and didn’t involve a blow to the head, the flag was picked up.

It’s a delicate situation; no one wants the quarterback put in danger. He’s vulnerable in that moment right after release. But as Pereira put it to me, “If everyone in the world knows it’s an act that didn’t put the quarterback in danger” that flag should be picked up.

It happened numerous times throughout the USFL season, including on broadcasts I was calling. I enjoyed listening to Mike think out loud as he watched the plays in slow motion, explaining why the flag should or shouldn’t be picked up.

I thought this rule made the game better; a little more fair to the defense, while still reserving the right to protect the QB when needed.

And it wasn’t just Roughing the Passer; all Unsportsmanlike penalties were subject to review. If the call on the field didn’t hold up during a slo-mo review, the call didn’t survive. I think it worked.

POSSESSION SCRIMMAGE PLAY

This was known as the “4th and 12 Rule” or the “Make It/Take It.” Pereira and his team came to determine that converting 4th and 12 in the USFL was just as likely as recovering an onside kick.

The idea is that after a touchdown or field goal, instead of kicking off, the offense can opt for the “Possession Scrimmage Play.” That play is a 4th and 12 from their own 33-yard line.

If you convert, you keep the ball. If you don’t convert, whether the result was an 11-yard gain or an 11-yard loss, the opposing team takes over from where the play ended.

“We took a look at the normal success rate of an onside kick before the NFL implemented the restrictions in 2018,” Pereira said. “It was 10 to 12 percent.”

In the NFL, the average success of a 4th and 15 play is 11 percent. Factoring in the skill rate of USFL players is a little lower, the USFL decided to set the Possession Scrimmage Play at 4th and 12.


I called a few games where the Possession Scrimmage Play was called. I loved the excitement and energy it brought.


So, what rule adjustment would Pereira like to see find a home in the NFL?

“I’d like to see the NFL adopt some form of our kickoff rule to get more returns,” he said. “I think fans miss them, and there are ways to make it safer without being too gimmicky.”

Pereira notes that any NFL rules changes wouldn’t take effect until the 2023 season. Standby.

Read more in the full Football Morning in America column

2022 Sunday Night Football Schedule: TV channel, live stream info, NFL schedule

7 Comments

The 2022 NFL Football season is finally back in session. This Sunday night Matt Ryan and the Indianapolis Colts (4-7-1) head to Arlington, Texas to face Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys (8-3). Live coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. ET with Football Night in America. NBC and Peacock have got you covered with access to this week’s games as well as every Sunday Night Football game this season.

RELATED: FMIA Week 12 – Josh Jacobs Takes Heckling Personally, And A Banner Week For Two-Point Conversion Risks

This year’s Sunday Night Football coverage will feature Mike Tirico and Cris Collinsworth in the booth and Melissa Stark on the sidelines. Live coverage begins every Sunday night at 7:00 p.m. ET with Football Night in America with the talented group of Maria Taylor, Tony Dungy, Rodney Harrison, Jason Garrett, Chris Simms, Jac Collinsworth, Mike Florio, and Matthew Berry. Berry, a fantasy football industry pioneer, will also appear on Peacock’s exclusive NFL post-game show, Sunday Night Football Final.

RELATED: How to watch Matthew Berry on NBC Sports

Football Night in America will also feature a weekly segment hosted by Simms and sports betting and Berry, which highlights storylines and betting odds for the upcoming Sunday Night Football game on NBC, Peacock, and Universo. Real-time betting odds on the scoring ticker during FNIA also will be showcased. Peacock Sunday Night Football Final, an NFL postgame show produced by NBC Sports, will also go deep on the storylines and BetMGM betting lines that proved prominent during the matchup.

2022 Sunday Night Football Schedule:

*Live coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. ET.

Thursday, Sept. 8 (Week 1) – Josh Allen’s four touchdowns power Bills to 31-10 victory over Rams

Sunday, Sept. 11 (Week 1) – Bucs take care of business against Cowboys, who lose Dak Prescott late

Sunday, Sept. 18 (Week 2) Packers roll over Bears 27-10 as Aaron Jones, Preston Smith star

Sunday, Sept. 25 (Week 3) – Broncos do just enough to pull off 11-10 win over 49ers

Sunday, Oct. 2 (Week 4) – Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs dominate Bucs 41-31

Sunday, Oct. 9 (Week 5) – Justin Tucker’s last-play field goal delivers 19-17 win for Ravens

Sunday, Oct. 16 (Week 6) – Eagles intercept Cooper Rush three times in 26-17 win

Sunday, Oct. 23 (Week 7) – Kenny Pickett throws two late INTs, allowing Miami to escape with 16-10 win

Sunday, Oct. 30 (Week 8) – Bills beat Packers 27-17 for fourth win in a row

Sunday, Nov. 6 (Week 9) – Patrick Mahomes leads Chiefs to comeback overtime victory over Titans

Sunday, Nov. 13 (Week 10) – 49ers dominate Chargers in second half to win 22-16

Sunday, Nov. 20 (Week 11) – Travis Kelce’s third touchdown leads Chiefs to late comeback win

Thursday, Nov. 24 (Week 12) – Vikings improve to 9-2 with 33-26 victory over Patriots

Sunday, Nov. 27 (Week 12) – Packers lose Aaron Rodgers, another game as Eagles rush for 363 in 40-33 win

Sunday, Dec. 4 (Week 13) – Colts at Cowboys

Sunday, Dec. 11 (Week 14) – Dolphins at Chargers

Sunday, Dec. 18 (Week 15) – Patriots at Raiders

Sunday, Dec. 25 (Week 16) – Buccaneers at Cardinals

Sunday, Jan. 1 (Week 17) – Rams at Chargers

Sunday, Jan. 8 (Week 18) – Matchup TBD


How to watch Sunday Night Football on Peacock:

If you have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can watch Sunday Night Football on your TV or with a TV provider login on the NBC Sports app, NBC app, or via NBCSports.com. Check your local listings to find your NBC channel. If you can’t find NBC in your channel lineup, please contact your TV provider.

RELATED: 2022 NFL Regular Season Schedule – How to Watch, Live Stream, Dates, Times, Matchups

If you don’t have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can stream Sunday Night Football on Peacock with a $4.99/month Peacock Premium plan.  Sign up here or, if you already have a free Peacock account, go to your Account settings to upgrade or change your existing plan. 

Please note that selection of a Premium plan will result in a charge which will recur on a monthly or annual basis until you cancel, depending on your plan. You can cancel your Premium plan at any time in your Account.

RELATED: What to know about Super Bowl 2023 – Date, location, halftime performance info, and much more


 Follow along with ProFootballTalk for the latest news, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2022 NFL Season, and be sure to subscribe to NFLonNBC on YouTube!

How to watch the NFL on Peacock: Full Sunday Night Football Schedule, live stream info for the 2022 season

2 Comments

The 2022 NFL Season is in full gear. This week features another exciting match-up as Matt Ryan and the Indianapolis Colts (4-7-1) head to Arlington, Texas to take on Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys (8-3). Live coverage begins at 7 PM ET with Football Night In America. NBC and Peacock have got you covered with access to this week’s games as well as every Sunday Night Football game this season.

RELATED: FMIA Week 12 – Josh Jacobs Takes Heckling Personally, And A Banner Week For Two-Point Conversion Risks

See below for the full 2022 Sunday Night Football schedule as well as additional information on how to watch every game on Peacock.

RELATED: How to watch Matthew Berry on NBC Sports

2022 Sunday Night Football Schedule:

*Live coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. ET.

Thursday, Sept. 8 (Week 1) – Josh Allen’s four touchdowns power Bills to 31-10 victory over Rams

Sunday, Sept. 11 (Week 1) – Bucs take care of business against Cowboys, who lose Dak Prescott late

Sunday, Sept. 18 (Week 2) – Packers roll over Bears 27-10 as Aaron Jones, Preston Smith star

Sunday, Sept. 25 (Week 3) – Broncos do just enough to pull off 11-10 win over 49ers

Sunday, Oct. 2 (Week 4) – Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs dominate Bucs 41-31

Sunday, Oct. 9 (Week 5) – Justin Tucker’s last-play field goal delivers 19-17 win for Ravens

Sunday, Oct. 16 (Week 6) – Eagles intercept Cooper Rush three times in 26-17 win

Sunday, Oct. 23 (Week 7) – Kenny Pickett throws two late INTs, allowing Miami to escape with 16-10 win

Sunday, Oct. 30 (Week 8) – Bills beat Packers 27-17 for fourth win in a row

Sunday, Nov. 6 (Week 9) – Patrick Mahomes leads Chiefs to comeback overtime victory over Titans

Sunday, Nov. 13 (Week 10) – 49ers dominate Chargers in second half to win 22-16

Sunday, Nov. 20 (Week 11) – Travis Kelce’s third touchdown leads Chiefs to late comeback win

Thursday, Nov. 24 (Week 12) – Vikings improve to 9-2 with 33-26 victory over Patriots

Sunday, Nov. 27 (Week 12) – Packers lose Aaron Rodgers, another game as Eagles rush for 363 in 40-33 win

Sunday, Dec. 4 (Week 13) – Colts at Cowboys

Sunday, Dec. 11 (Week 14) – Dolphins at Chargers

Sunday, Dec. 18 (Week 15) – Patriots at Raiders

Sunday, Dec. 25 (Week 16) – Buccaneers at Cardinals

Sunday, Jan. 1 (Week 17) – Rams at Chargers

Sunday, Jan. 8 (Week 18) – Matchup TBD

RELATED: 2022 NFL Regular Season Schedule – How to Watch, Live Stream, Dates, Times, Matchups


How to watch Sunday Night Football on Peacock:

If you have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can watch Sunday Night Football on your TV or with a TV provider login on the NBC Sports app, NBC app, or via NBCSports.com. Check your local listings to find your NBC channel. If you can’t find NBC in your channel lineup, please contact your TV provider.

RELATED: When is the 2022 NFL Trade Deadline?

If you don’t have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can stream Sunday Night Football on Peacock with a $4.99/month Peacock Premium plan.  Sign up here or, if you already have a free Peacock account, go to your Account settings to upgrade or change your existing plan. 

Please note that selection of a Premium plan will result in a charge which will recur on a monthly or annual basis until you cancel, depending on your plan. You can cancel your Premium plan at any time in your Account.

RELATED: How to watch/live stream Tennessee Titans vs Kansas City Chiefs game

What devices are compatible with Peacock?

Peacock is available on a variety of devices. See the full list here.

In addition to Sunday Night Football, what else can I watch with Peacock Premium?

Premium is your key to unlocking everything Peacock has to offer. You’ll get access to all the live sports and events we have, including Premier League and WWE Premium Live Events like WrestleMania. You’ll also get full seasons of exclusive Peacock Original series, next-day airings of current NBC and Telemundo hits, plus every movie and show available on Peacock. There is always something new to discover on Peacock Premium.

RELATED: What to know about Super Bowl 2023 – Date, location, halftime performance info, and much more

 Follow along with ProFootballTalk for the latest news, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2022 NFL Season, and be sure to subscribe to NFLonNBC on YouTube!