Football is a wonderful game. But there are too many things that take away from the fun of the game and make you want to go to the kitchen for a soda. With a few rule changes, we could speed up the pace and make it more enjoyable. The game is quirky - that makes it fun, and I wouldn't want to take that away. But here are my list of changes:
Get rid of the coin toss. In baseball, the home team bats last. Why not simply say the home team kicks the first half and receives the second? Home team can choose field direction the first half - away team the second. There - we just shortened the game 12 minutes.
Use two 45-minute halves, clock running. Sure, stop the clock for injuries, time outs, penalties and scores. There's enough of those to get in all your commercial breaks - you don't need to add more. Ok, under 2 minutes stop the clock on incompletes and out of bounds plays - that makes the end of each game so exciting. But does anyone really care that the clock stops when a running back is out of bounds with 11:32 left in the first quarter? The quarter breaks are just a waste of time. Just start each play 40 seconds after the last play ended, and keep going.
Get rid of the chain gang. My solution: paint lines across the field - when you cross those lines you get a first down. If you painted lines every 4 yards - you'd have to cross three lines to get a first down. That means you'd need anywhere between 8 and 12 yards for a first down. The average would be 10. Refs could call first downs the same way they call touchdowns. No more stopping the game for measurements or moving the chains.
Use a delay of game warning. The offensive finally gets set to run a play - they hike it and off they go. Oops, flags fly, play stops, we all go get sodas. What was the penalty that we just stopped life for? Delay of game! Ironic, isn't it? I say if a team is lined up ready to start the play when the play clock expires, raise a "delay of game" warning flag. If they get the play off in the next 5 seconds - the game goes on with no interruption. The second time this happens, it's a penalty.
40 seconds to make a coach's challenge. You've just watched 3 minutes of beer commercials when the game comes back on. After 30 seconds of huddling, the coach throws a red flag to challenge the play that happened before the commercials. I say give the coach 40 seconds (run the play clock) to challenge a play - even if there is a time out. The review can be resolved and the ball respotted all while we figure out that regular Bud must have inferior drinkability.
Implement a yellow-card/red-card system. A big fight erupts - flags fly - penalties offset - waste of time. I say for a first deliberate unsportsmanlike - you get a yellow card like in soccer. Do it again and you get a red card and you are out of the game.
5-guys on the line of scrimmage. You just tossed an 80-yard touchdown pass. Oops - called back, because one wide receiver was 38 inches behind the line of scrimmage instead of 32. Seriously folks? Does it REALLY matter that much if a wide out is one the line or 38 inches back? Make the rule simple: the center and two guys each side of him have to be on the line of scrimmage (they always are, anyway). Everyone else is an eligible receiver and can line up whereever they want. Ok, if you want to avoid a 6-man bunch behind the center - say you can only have 4 guys behind the tackles.