We have seen rules enacted to enhance player safety in various leagues. In many instances, those rule changes have had unintended consequences, as there are always those who look at rules as a possible route to gaining an advantage over an opponent.
Take the NFL. Please.
At one point in the not too distant past, the league decided that kickoff returns were one of the most exciting plays in the game, so they moved the line back five yards to prevent kickers from routinely reaching the end zone, which resulted in a boring touchback.
Then, responding to the dangerous collisions that take place in the course of a gridiron game, with some of the most dangerous came during kick returns, they moved the line up so that most kick-offs would result in touchbacks.
Some NFL coaches, most notably Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots, discerned that with his kick-off coverage team five yards closer to the kick returner, he could have his kicker kick the ball high and short of the goal line, forcing a return in the hopes of trapping the other team deeper in their own territory than they would otherwise be as the result of a touchback.
The strategy was of minimal significance, but it went against the spirit of the rule, even though it was perfectly legal.
The AFL is not immune to such mucking around.
They had discussed scrapping the long-standing tradition of the centre bounce to initiate games.
Getting rid of the bounce was intended to protect umpires from back and hamstring injuries, along with the potential embarrassment of re-calling a bad bounce.
In 2013, the AFL got rid of the bounce for all occasions save for those in the centre square.
The AFL has decided to keep the bounce for 2018, which comes as good news to traditionalists, but bad news to any of us who have attempted the bounce, only to receive a Sherrin in the kisser for our efforts.