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Last updated 4/9/2019 at Noon

With the month of April only 10 days old, we have the NCCA national champion already crowned, the NBA ending its regular season and getting ready for their lengthy playoffs and major league baseball only two weeks old.

And while all that is taking place in the world of sports, the National Football League also has been in the process of drafting some new rules for the 2019 season to eliminate some of the controversy that occurred around playoff time during last season.

After reviewing some of these proposals, it’s difficult to decide whether they will help the game or create more delays, instead of shortening the time of a game like the Competition Committee has been trying to accomplish for the last decade.

In addition to simplifying some of the rules, the NFL owners and the rules committee are hoping to make the game safer for the players.

According to ESPN’s Adam Shefter he analyzed that all offensive and defensive pass interference calls as well as non-calls will be subject to coaches’ challenge for the 2019 season.

In the last two minutes of each half, the reviews have to be initiated by a booth review. If you remember back to the 2018 NFC Conference championship game, a non- interference call on a long pass play kept the New Orleans Saints out of the Super Bowl.

After the vote, Saints Coach Sean Payton said it wasn’t just that game, but also referred to the Week 16 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers where the Saints benefited from questionable pass interference call against Joe Haden vs. New Orleans running back Alvin Kamara.

On a fourth-and-one, Haden was called for pass interference, a 31-yard penalty that set up a touchdown, and the Saints went on to win, 31-28. The loss killed the Steelers’ playoff chances.

Steelers’ President Art Rooney II said that the change is a one-year move, and that although the team was against expanding replay, it was a good compromise. “I think it went pretty good,” Rooney commented. “We wound up passing a replay rule that I think is pretty narrow. It’s in for one year and we will see how it goes.”

Rooney also weighed in on several other topics at the end of the meeting, including the idea of adding an eighth official, one who could be a ‘sky judge’ who would be in the booth.

Other ideas discussed at the meeting was to allow both teams to possess the football at least one time in overtime, even if the first team to handle the ball scores.

Also eliminate the overtime coin toss so that the winner of the initial coin toss to begin the game may choose to kick or receive or decide which goal to defend.

Another is to subject all plays and personal fouls that occur during the game to coaches’ challenge by teams or by instant replay officials.

Safety-related designated player fouls (called or not called) should be subject to the coaches’ challenge in the instant replay system.

Scoring plays and turnovers negated by a foul will be subject to an automatic review by the instant-replay system.

Also, all fourth-down plays that are spotted short of the first-down marker or goal line will be subject to automatic review by the instant replay system.

KWICKIES…Perhaps the sport of basketball should follow the NFL in scrutinizing some of the rules and calls that can make a difference in the outcome of a game.

For example, in the Final Four semifinal game, Virginia was driving downcourt with seven seconds left trailing Auburn 62-60 when the ball hit the Cavaliers’ dribbler in the leg.

He picked it up and kept dribbling without a double-dribble being called.

Virginia’s Karl Guy tried a desperation shot from the corner with 1,7 seconds left but was fouled and calmly sunk all three free throws, giving his team a controversial 63-62 victory and a berth in Monday’s national championship game against the Texas Tech Red Raiders.

Congrats are in order for Little Cypress-Mauriceville’s sophomore Jack Burke, who successfully defended his title as the District 22-4A golf champion, winning the two-day event at Henry Homberg Course by a whopping nine strokes (72-72—144). The Bears, who are headed to the regional tournament, fell one shot short to Hardin-Jefferson. The Lady Bears also finished second behind H-J, were led by freshman Montana Dileo, who was the second medalist with her rounds of 81-82—163.

Jacob Hurtubise, the speedy leadoff batter for Army and a West Point teammate of my grandson Logan Smith, led the nation in stolen bases last year as a freshman is on his way to repeating that honor this year. Besides batting .324 and drawing 25 walks, he already has swiped 25 bases for the Black Knights, who are 17-14 for the season and 6-4 in Patriot Conference games.

Despite leading the Valero Texas Open after the first three rounds, Si Woo Kim, the Players Championship winner in 2017, dropped into a tie for fourth place after an even par 72, clearing the way for Corey Conners, who fired a 66 Sunday to win the event over Charley Hoffman by two strokes.

JUST BETWEEN US…The Houston Astros and the New York Yankees are involved in a three-game series at Minute Maid Park that began Monday and concludes today.

Both teams went into the series with three-game winning streaks but won Sunday’s game much differently.

Houston went into the bottom of the eighth inning trailing Oakland 8-6, tying up the game with a bases-loaded walk off A’s ace reliever Blake Treinen.

Houston worked Treinen for three ninth-inning walks, the last being a four-pitch base-on-balls to Jose Altuve with the bases loaded giving the Astros a 9-8 win.

The Yankees won the old-fashioned way by clouting seven home runs at Baltimore and thrashing the Orioles 15-3.

The Yanks tied a franchise record of seven homers in a road game that was set May 30,1961 when Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris and Moose Skowron each belted two round-trippers while Yogi Berra hit the other one.


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