Eliminate Kickoffs?

According to this synopsis of a Time Magazine profile of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, there are discussions within the league about eliminating kickoffs. It discusses the craziest rule change I think I have ever heard.  Apparently, Greg Schiano, coach of Tampa and not a fan of the kneel down, wants the team that scores to get the ball on their own 30 with a 4th-and-15 facing them.  They could then either punt, or go for it with the obvious risks of not making it.

If player safety is the ultimate concern, I am not sure this rule change would help that much.  While punts are safer than kickoffs, there are still plenty of violent collisions with them.  And, by placing the ball on the 30, you almost guarantee that the punt will be in the field of play since the punter would have to really boom it to make the end zone.  But, I do get the idea behind it.  The biggest problem you incur if you eliminate kickoffs is that you prevent a team that is trying to mount a comeback from having the ability to recover an onsides kick.

I think there are two solutions the NFL could look at to make kickoffs less dangerous for most players.  First, move the ball up to the 40 and you would create a ton of touchbacks. And since kickoffs took place at the 40 up until 1974, this wouldn’t be a hugely radical idea.

But, that only solves part of the problem because even on touchbacks players are blocking each other and colliding with great speed.  So, how about forcing the receiving team to put at least nine players 10-yards away from the kick?  That way you wouldn’t have the collisions down field for the blocking, you would have them right off the line of scrimmage, before players worked up a head of steam.  Now, you would almost destroy the return game as this would probably result in the returner being swarmed by eight guys, but it would be safer.  If you coupled that move with a move to put the kickoffs at the 40, you would preserve the onside kick, but also severely limit the amount of times kickoffs were returned.

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  • blmeanie  On December 7, 2012 at 11:31 am

    why stop there, they should just go to the college overtime rules for the entire game. Just put the offense out on the attacking 25 (I think) and score or not. Walk down the other end do the same for the other team. All this energy and time wasted on kickoffs, punts, long drives, extra points, just remove it all. Or, go with all players wearing those cool sumu suits people wear between periods at hockey games, nobody can get hurt wearing those.

    Seriously, the sympathy I have for people hurt chasing a dream to play pro sports isn’t there anymore. Tired of the obscene money. Granted, they should fight for and get better pensions and care after they leave the game. The option should be:

    – play football, get paid well, risk injuries as the game is played without changing all the rules, have good pensions and health care after leaving the game

    – play football in pussyfied new rules world at a much REDUCED salary, have good pensions and health care after leaving the game

    option 2 obviously would never happen. Not sure the game will continue to grow and prosper as much when all the hitting gets removed. Did you see the article/post somewhere recently that showed the intro to one of the Madden games a few years back? It showed and propped up violent hits as the reason for being practically.

    Flag football games aren’t on tv and have their own fantasy league for a reason.

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