Is it Time For the NFL to Implement a Slaughter Rule?

I've had this thought before. But, as I watched the Green Bay Packers soundly defeat the Chicago Bears last night, I once again began to wonder if maybe the National Football League should give some serious consideration to it.

A slaughter rule, for those who have never heard of it, is a rule that allows a game to end early if one of the teams has no chance of winning. It's mainly used in youth sports as a way of preventing one team from getting embarrassed. However, at the professional level, a rule like that would be more about preventing unnecessary injuries.

While it's not something I would expect to see used a lot in the NFL, I do think it's a rule that has its place. Sure, there will be some critics, such as fantasy football players, who would be opposed to it. And, I'm sure advertising revenue would also come into play. But, with the league becoming more health conscious, I do think there are some circumstances where a rule like that would make a lot of sense.

Last night's game is actually a good example of one of those circumstances. The Packers were up by 28 points at the start of the 4th quarter and the Bears, realizing they simply weren't playing good enough to close that gap, started running out the clock. Rather than doing that (and risking a key injury when the game's outcome was already decided), a slaughter rule would have allowed them to simply concede defeat and send the players to the locker room. And, considering the game was already running nearly an hour late because of a lightning delay, I'm sure very few fans would have complained about that.

Of course, there would have to be some guidelines in place to make sure the rule wasn't abused and the fans still got their money's worth. However, that is easy enough to do. All the NFL would have to do is require one of the teams to be up by a certain amount of points and not allow it to be used until the 4th quarter unless (again, as was the case last night) there was a significant game delay.

As I said before, it's not something, if implemented, I would expect to see used a lot. However, if the NFL is serious about keeping players healthier, it's a rule that should be considered in the future.


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