Game Of The Future: NFL 2017


Those bodies have grown larger, yet faster and more agile. Unlike Rooney and Browns President Mike Holmgren, Martin thinks the size of NFL players will continue to increase.

“I see 400-pounders on the lines and 300-pound tight ends who can run a 4.6 or 4.7 40,” Martin said. “With nutrition and weight training and all the science they can do now – this society is all about more is better. They are averaging 300 pounds in high school on the lines.”

But Rooney cringes when asked about 400-pound NFLers.

“It’s hard for me to believe we will see a lot of 400-pound players, let alone any,” the Steelers owner said. “I do think with the guys today who are at 350 pounds or so, we’ve got to be close to the maximum. But knowing that many years ago, there were no 300 pounders or very few like we have today, it’s difficult to project.

“I think there’s a limit to how big players will be able to get to perform and move with the agility you need in the NFL. I think we are close to maxed-out on the weight.”

And Holmgren, master of the West Coast offense, expects a shift in the other direction.

“I don’t think players were ever this big and maybe we have maxed out on the offensive and defensive lines,” he said. “You look at certain systems in the league and they require the opposite, linemen who can really move, pull. … There could be more emphasis on undersized players then.”

The size of the draft, and its location might change by 2017. Allen wants to see his league emulate – get this – the NHL by moving the draft to various cities and having the players meet with team staffs, including the coaches and GMs who chose them, on site.

“The player gets selected and almost immediately goes to a suite of the team that chose him, gets to meet his new team, some of its players,” Allen said. “I think it would be great and I see that coming by (2017).”

He and many other league executives predict a longer draft, too. Considering how the draft has become a cottage industry – the NFL’s most popular event that doesn’t involve actual football – they probably are correct.

Teams scout for as many as 12 rounds, and the scramble to sign undrafted free agents can be frenetic and frustrating for everyone. But the players’ union would have to approve any changes.

“Personnel guys always want more players and more rounds to pick them,” Reese said. “I don’t see the rules changing on who is (eligible). To play this game you need a certain body type that is developed, physically mature. Players don’t have that (early in college). The injury risk would be too high.”

<< previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 next >>

Posted by on Oct 1st, 2012 and filed under Feature Story. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed