November 23, 2020

The NFL Kneel Down: An Analysis

*This article is inspired by RB Nick Chubb’s actions.*

The ‘kneel down’ is a part of football that has simply been accepted throughout history. The quarterback’s team has the lead, the ball and so little time where simply allowing the clock to run out with each kneel will win the game for said team.

Now, I am not denying that it makes sense. With the way that the rules are currently, ending the game that way makes perfect sense.

However, let’s look at this from an unbiased perspective. Obviously, if your team is the one doing the kneeling you’d be happy with it. From an entertainment value, though? Is seeing a quarterback kneel down exciting or fun? Hell no it’s not.

Let’s shift gears for a second and look at the NBA. 

At the end of the game if a team is down they can intentionally foul the opponent. This forces them to shoot two foul shots and (make or miss) puts the ball in the losing team’s hands either with a rebound off a miss or inbound off a make. The expectation is the person shooting would make both shots and add two points to their score. However, it gives the team that is down a chance to get the ball back in their hands.

When Nick Chubb stepped out of bounds, it ended a close game. As a Browns fan, I was thrilled with the decision. A fan of the NFL would be disappointed because it eliminated the chance for the opponent to try and get back into the game late with some exciting football that included long passes, catches and a hurry-up offense.

What if the NFL eliminated the kneel down?

An interesting rule change that a fellow writer mentioned to me is that if the team did not move the ball forward past the line of scrimmage, the clock would not run and it would almost serve as a timeout. Make that even more interesting and say it has to be five yards or said decided amount.

This would force teams that are winning to continue playing the game until the final clock hits zero.

Kneel downs are boring. They take away so much entertainment from the game at the very end. It also eliminates the chance for any type of comeback in many battles.

Say Chubb scores that touchdown. It puts the Browns up 10 with less than a minute to go. They were very likely going to win the game regardless, but it would give the Texans a chance to get the ball back. Houston would have to score a touchdown, onside kick and recover to then kick a field goal (and tie the game) or score another touchdown to win…all under a minute.

Very, very, very unlikely.

However, for entertainment value, the fans would have something to watch until the game was over.

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