One NFL talker that has started gain some traction with players and fans is the notion of widening NFL fields beyond their current boundaries. A former member of the league’s Competition Committee floated the idea last week that fields should be wider, but while the idea has been informally introduced, the current Competition Committee has no plans to discuss the idea anytime soon.
But while the idea of widening NFL fields is not in the forefront of anyone’s mind at the moment, it’s an idea that’s not likely to go away anytime soon. The league is currently on a crusade to make the game safer and one way to make the game safer may be to widen the fields. It hasn’t been proven in any way that a wider field means fewer devastating hits, but logic does suggest it.
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Andrew Hawkins came forward in support of the idea, saying he feels the wider fields would mean more room to run and less chances for severe hits.
“It would prevent a lot of the severe collisions,” Hawkins said. “Guys are getting faster every year. We know that. But with the NFL spacing being more confined than the CFL, there are a lot more big hits. There are a lot more tight windows. It would prevent not all, but a larger portion, of big hits. There are more big hits here. I don’t care how fast you are. If a field is a certain size, you’re not going to be able to get there by the time the ball gets there.”
If the fields are to be made wider, it won’t happen anytime soon. Even if the NFL approves the idea, the logistics of it would then need to be figured out as there’s a lot that goes on outside of the hash-marks. Widening the fields mean moving coaches, TV personnel and players not in the game closer to the fans. Security measures would need to be improved and better barriers between fans and players would need to be made.
So while the safety of the players on the gridiron is motivation to widen the field, the safety of those not needs to be considered as well.