ESPN: ESPN is going back to ESPN2. No more sidekicks
The NFL is going to stop making sidekickers.
It’s not going to continue to give out sidekicking bonuses.
That’s not the end of the world.
And the NBA is going forward to doing the same.
The NFL announced Monday that it’s going to end its sidekicker bonuses this season, with a new sidekick starting this week.
There are a few other changes, too.
The league will no longer award bonuses for the first and third-down plays in the fourth quarter, the first play after a quarterback has completed a pass or rush.
Instead, the league is giving out a 10-point bonus for a first down and two-point for a second down.
That should help make the league’s best teams competitive in the playoff.
It should also help make teams that aren’t as talented as they used to be competitive, and that should help teams like the Chiefs and Falcons compete more effectively.
That said, the sideshow shouldn’t come as a surprise to fans.
In 2016, the NFL did the same thing with the sidekick awards.
That gave out bonus money for first down plays, which didn’t make for a very compelling viewing experience.
And that’s exactly what fans wanted.
We want to see teams compete more, not just be more entertaining.
So we’re going to be doing this again next year.
But the changes won’t necessarily mean the end to the sidekicked sidekick.
Teams are going to get more chances to take the field this year, with more opportunities to take on defenders who can’t handle the ball, to create space in the passing game, to make plays on third downs, to take advantage of defenders who are not good at running.
That means teams will get a lot more chances, and teams will make more plays.
And those plays should help them win games, too, especially in the playoffs.
In addition, the sideking off of the top-three teams from each conference will result in a four-team playoff bracket.
And teams with a losing record will advance to the playoffs, with the winners playing the other teams in the conference, with each conference having its own home-field advantage.
That will make the regular season more interesting than ever, because teams with bad records are going into the playoffs with a lot of pressure to win, while teams with winning records will have a lot less pressure.
The schedule isn’t exactly set in stone yet, but it looks like the AFC will have three teams that play in the division, the AFC South will have two teams that have a tie for the second-best record in the league, and the AFC West will have one team that will make its way to the postseason with a bye week.
It won’t be easy to predict how things will shake out in the NFL.
There will be a lot riding on this year’s playoffs, and we can’t rule out the possibility that things could go horribly wrong.
We don’t know what will happen in the regular-season, and it’s difficult to say how it will turn out.
But there’s no reason to doubt that the league and its fans will come together in the end.