Watch this Youtube video and note the helmets, shoulder pads and other padding worn. Change the rules to allow only helmets and padding like this or consistent with this time period, instead of the helmets and padding players use today. This will change the way players play and decreasing the amount of concussions. It will increase broken noses and other facial injuries. But by taking the ultimate protections away that make the body into a weapon, players will make subtle changes to protect themselves.
In concert with the above changes, eliminate all "defenseless" player infractions that have been instituted over the last 10 years. That includes the--downright silly in some cases--special rules to protect QBs. Keep the ability for the QB to slide (as a player always could just down the ball), but allow some judgement area for incidental contact by players who cannot stop to avoid contact with the sliding player. Also eliminate the travesty of the game special rules that allow the QB to throw the ball away, including the "spike" and throwing the ball beyond the LOS from outside the pocket. Making contact with a WR after he touches a pass... legal.
Absolutely positively keep personal foul penalties on rush men that take more than 2 steps after the QB releases the ball to smash him or cases where players are going beyond playing the game to inflict punishment.
The effects of these changes:
1. Fewer concussions. Not a lot fewer. But probably fewer.
2. More facial injuries. Broken noses. Lacerations. Eye injuries.
3. Slightly fewer injuries and slightly lesser degree of injuries. By leaving players less protected, they will be a bit more guarded in contact situations. This may have no effect on joint injuries. But high speed contact injuries in general will be down.
4. Crazier TV shots of guys with bloody noses, facial cuts and stitches.
5. Fewer penalties, particularly game changing PF penalties.
6. Increased fan satisfaction with the results of games by eliminating "punishment doesn't fit the crime" penalties than have seeped into today's games.
7. Somewhat less QB and offensive emphasis on passing and more on running. QBs being less babied would have to be tougher and more durable, reducing passing efficiency.
8. DL guys could be just a little crazier on the pass rush without the QB protection rules.
Who's in with me?