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NFL should kick around idea of raising scoreboard

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Posted Aug. 24, 2009 @ 12:23 p.m.
Updated Oct. 06, 2010 @ 7:27 p.m.
By Eric Edholm

A.J. Trapasso has had quite a preseason, hasn't he?

The Titans' undrafted punter from Ohio State is my new favorite unknown soldier, having scored on a gorgeous fake punt in the Hall of Fame Game and then on Friday finding himself at the center of a very interesting debate.

Trapasso uncorked what looked like a bomb of a punt in the Titans-Cowboys game, the first at the new mega-stadium in Dallas, that hit the $40 million scoreboard that hangs over the center of the field.

What did they do? Do over.

That's right. The punt did not count, so they just pretended it didn't happen and kicked again. But it did happen, and I think it's probably a fortunate thing that this occured in the preseason. Heck, he almost banged the scoreboard a second time on his redo effort. They say the exhibition season is for working out the kinks … well, this, my friends, is a kink.

For $1.2 billion, the cost of the new stadium, the Cowboys got themselves controversy. The issue at hand is that redoing kicks is not good for football. As others have pointed out, the kicking game is a high-impact event that probably has as high an injury rate as anything else that happens on the field. And asking a punter to kick two (or three) times in a row probably gives the return team an advantage for a few reasons: less power on the subsequent kicks, more times to analyze the blocking schemes, wearing down the gunners who are in a dead sprint on the outside, etc.

The solution? Raising the board sure sounds like a good idea. But the silence from owner Jerry Jones, the administrator of this reportedly mecca-esque stadium, tells me he's not too keen on the idea, especially after the league supposedly signed off on the contours of the stadium well in advance of game play. But I suspect the competition committee and Roger Goodell will interject here and ask them to raise the scoreboard — which I hear is quite doable.

Of course, I take it as a positive if you're a Cowboys fan that the biggest offseason story thus far has been a scoreboard and not the drama that infested last year's camp.

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