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How a Ban of the Three-Point Stance Would Affect the Cowboys

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Three-point stances could become a thing of the past, which likely would affect the entire fabric of the game.

If you have not yet heard, Commissioner Goodell is looking into whether forcing offensive and defensive linemen to stand in two-point stances (no hand in the ground) would make the game safer, i.e. less head injuries. Seriously.

A lot of Cowboys fans have questioned how this proposed rule change might affect the Dallas’ linemen, and I actually think that, if anything, it would help the team. At an average size of 6’5”, 327 pounds, the Cowboys offensive line is mammoth–one of the largest in the league. This kind of size can only be overpowered with leverage, something that defensive linemen acquire, in large part, due to their starting stance. The abolition of the three-point stance would force linemen to play with a higher initial pad level, a proposition that would decrease the impact of leverage and favor the larger individuals.

On defense, the Cowboys already have only three linemen in a three-point stance pre-snap. Further, because they run this 3-4 scheme, their defensive linemen are substantially larger than those on other teams, particularly the defensive ends. It seems as though an alteration in the required pre-snap stance would hurt the Cowboys’ d-line as little as it would hinder any other defensive line in the league.

Instead of standing as Marc Colombo is above, linemen would likely attempt to gain leverage by leaning forward as much as possible without touching the ground, particularly on obvious run downs.

Still, whether or not the rule helps Dallas is a moot point if the rule itself is a poor one, which I believe to be the case. The entire sport of football, no matter your position, is about playing with proper technique and superior leverage. Eliminating one’s ability to do this–to force players to “play high”– makes little sense. Further, when you force players to play without leverage, the chance of injury, in my opinion, is not lessened. In what manner is it safer for a defensive linemen to lose all pre-snap leverage and get blown off the ball?

Lastly, what is a proper two-point stance? A wide receiver is technically in one. Instead of linemen going into stances similar to those they are in on obvious passing downs (pictured to the right), they would likely attempt to get as low as possible without actually touching the ground, particularly in obvious running situations. Thus, the impact and head-to-head collisions that this proposed idea would attempt to eliminate would remain, and, unfortunately, so would all of the aforementioned downsides.

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