More bumbling and incompetence by the NFL regarding the umpire position rule change. According to SI.com:
The NFL will move umpires back to their old spots during the final five minutes of Thursday's preseason games. Previously they were in the old spot for only the final two minutes of each half.
OK, stop of a second and recall what the original intent of this rule was meant to address.
If the intent is to remove umpires from a danger zone to one where they are more protected from frequent collisions, it makes absolutely no sense to move them back into that danger zone during the final five minutes.
It's maddening. It's farcical. It's now fallen into the realm of the absurd.
If safety is the issue, the umps should be moved from their old spot for the entirety of the game. However, the NFL will not do this because they know doing so destroys no-huddle offenses, especially those trying to score before half-time, or before the game finishes. If the move the umps back, and admit this rule change was implemented too quickly and without a proper period to vet flaws, there could be lawsuits.
One or the other, NFL. You can't have it both ways.
If the issue is safety, move the umps and accept a weaker NFL product for 2010, where umpires can do more to slow down a no-huddle attack than an actual defense can. This move would surely make the owners and the NFL Competition Committee look like utter buffoons, but too late! You guys already look pretty silly for how you've botched this.