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Bill Belichick speaks out against kickoff changes; other coaches agree

Bill Belichick AP

Patriots coach Bill Belichick isn’t always expansive with his comments to the media, but he’s not afraid to criticize proposed NFL rule changes that threaten to change the game he loves.

I don’t like idea of eliminating the kickoff from the game,” Belichick said via Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com.   “It’s one of the most exciting plays in football.”

The proposed changes would move kickoffs to the 35-yard line, and allow touchbacks to be placed at the 25-yard line.   Both changes would serve to limit the amount of kickoffs returned.

Belichick called the reasons behind the proposed changes to the rules “confusing.”  Our friend Tom Curran of CSNNE.com said Belichick spent time “skewering” the proposals.  Belichick implied that the league isn’t making the change because of concussions.

“The presentation last night, I don’t know that it’s because of head injuries,” Belichick said. “The ones they showed, there weren’t very many of them. I don’t know, I think you should talk to the Competition Committee.”

Belichick isn’t the only coach that has a problem with the proposed changes.  SI’s Don Banks wrote Monday that there may be widespread opposition from coaches.

“I should be for it, coaching in the same conference as Devin Hester,” one NFC coach told Banks.  “Anything that limits the damage he could do I should probably be in favor of. But I’m not. It’s not a little change. It changes the game too much. It’s not a tweak. It’s a significant change.”

The vote on the proposed change is expected Tuesday afternoon.  Maybe ownership will schedule a golf tournament for the head coaches at the same time.

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38 Responses to “Bill Belichick speaks out against kickoff changes; other coaches agree”
  1. johntonioholmes says: Mar 21, 2011 1:44 PM

    Judging by how bad the Steelers’ special teams are year in and year out, you would think I would be in favor of this…

    But, no. It’s just another attempt to water down the game. A window-dressing of a safety measure because the NFL doesn’t have the cajones to mandate that players wear the safest helmets.

  2. knucklebucket says: Mar 21, 2011 1:45 PM

    They are taking away one of the best parts of the game. It makes no sense except to open things up for the offenses to get a leg up. Whats next? Take away the field goal?

  3. wryly1 says: Mar 21, 2011 1:46 PM

    Owners who have never played or coached, deciding among themselves, in a vacuum, how the game should be played. Brilliant!

  4. ButkisMyDick says: Mar 21, 2011 1:50 PM

    Why would they want to remove kickoffs? Stupid idea.

  5. scytherius says: Mar 21, 2011 1:51 PM

    What a HORRIBLE rule change this would be. What idiot thought of this?

  6. realdeal12 says: Mar 21, 2011 1:55 PM

    There needs to be an actual “game” before this matters. I cant really say I care much about about rule changes if I am not sure these dumbos can work out a deal.

    GET A DEAL DONE FTARDS!!!

  7. FinFan68 says: Mar 21, 2011 1:55 PM

    That rule change proposal is one of the dumbest proposals I have seen this committee make…and there have been a ton of dumb proposals. This kind of garbage pisses off the fanbase. It seems these clowns no longer love the game that has provided their livelihoods for so many years. That part of the game is not broke. Defining what constitutes a catch is broken; devaluing the defense with “defenseless player” situations is unjustified, etc. Injuries have been a part of the game since its inception. Protect the players without changing the game. Improve the helmets (or eliminate them completely), mandate players to wear proper pads, etc.

  8. biggerballz says: Mar 21, 2011 1:58 PM

    at least unlike owners and players coaches have brains and don’t want to ruin the game.

  9. jaggedmark says: Mar 21, 2011 2:00 PM

    If the idea is to limit the number of kickoffs for safety purposes, then why not eliminate them altogether?

    It’s a stupid proposal. Have kick-offs, or don’t.

  10. jnbnet says: Mar 21, 2011 2:00 PM

    I understand the safety issue, and I am sure that it would help, however I feel that Belichick is correct in his assessment of how it will change the game. Kick returns are very exciting. I know that I am on the edge of my seat everytime the kick returner gets to (or past) the 30 yard line.

  11. biggerballz says: Mar 21, 2011 2:04 PM

    I’m just going to keep watching “any given sunday” instead of the new nfl.

  12. roscoepcoaltrain86 says: Mar 21, 2011 2:09 PM

    the NO FUN LEAGUE is taking shape more and more

  13. biggerballz says: Mar 21, 2011 2:17 PM

    next rule change, tackling with pillows only. I wonder what old school butkis types think of this, I bet they hate the new generation.

  14. robzar says: Mar 21, 2011 2:17 PM

    LISTEN UP all you bone-head owners! The Hea
    d Hoody has spoken!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Long live the Hoody!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. meshnuts says: Mar 21, 2011 2:22 PM

    The No Fun Leauge rears it’s ugly head again! Hey competition commitee, while your at it, put flags on the QB’s for safety! lol

  16. ithacabigblue says: Mar 21, 2011 2:23 PM

    These guys are getting a little crazy with these rules. In my opinion they should change the rules in the opposite direction. Kick off from the 25, touch back placed at the 15. Then there’s ‘more’ action. Maybe they should address the actual cause of most injuries in football… artificial turf.

  17. alewatcher says: Mar 21, 2011 2:24 PM

    Maybe if players actually made tackles instead of just blowing guys up there would be fewer head injuries?

  18. fanofthegame says: Mar 21, 2011 2:25 PM

    Imagine if there were no kick-offs a couple of years ago. The Saints would not have been able to call one of the best plays in Super Bowl history.

  19. SmackSaw says: Mar 21, 2011 2:26 PM

    Looks like I’ll be playing Madden 2011 for a loooong time.

  20. chipwade says: Mar 21, 2011 2:30 PM

    Probably an effort to generate longer TV timeouts and gain more revenue. The longer the game goes the more money gets spent everywhere (Food, beer, advertising, …)

    Using the head injuries as an excuse. If they want to get rid of head injuries just impose a rule that doesn’t allow helmet to helmet contact of kickoffs. Hell make it reviewable via replay.

    Kickoff returns are one of the most exciting aspects of football. Hell the Seahawks won a few games on them last year alone.

  21. heisthejuan says: Mar 21, 2011 2:31 PM

    The competition committee is either senile or sadistic. This change is so odd/bad, that they are either completely out of touch with what fans enjoy, or they don’t care and will just constantly tweak the game and watch us accept it.

  22. harleyrider1973 says: Mar 21, 2011 2:32 PM

    What a stupid Idea.

  23. wannabeqb says: Mar 21, 2011 2:32 PM

    But without kickoffs we wouldnt have seen my play of the year: Dan Connolly nearly taking it to the house on his 71yd kickoff return!

  24. wte1 says: Mar 21, 2011 2:38 PM

    Bill Polian must have thought of this change after a few to many glasses of scotch.

  25. ramsdiehard39 says: Mar 21, 2011 2:59 PM

    Why is it every time that I guess Rosenthal is the author…I’m right?

  26. vomitingliberals says: Mar 21, 2011 3:01 PM

    These fools are going to kill the game we all love so much. This is tampering NOT tweaking, and before it’s all said and done this will be nothing more than a big flag football league that nobody watches anymore. Keep you hands of the on field product morons!!! Damn sissies!

  27. sportsjustice says: Mar 21, 2011 3:07 PM

    Football is a game of field position. This rule proposal is completely unacceptable. I’m glad coach Belichick has taken a stand against it.

  28. EJ says: Mar 21, 2011 3:14 PM

    The only change that i did agree with was when the NFL allowed the 2pt conversion, thats it. Nothing else should ever change, period.

  29. damnskins703 says: Mar 21, 2011 3:16 PM

    This is just plain stupid.. All these rules are affecting the NFL.. Goodell has to go he could care less about fans and what WE enjoy…

  30. 1phd says: Mar 21, 2011 3:16 PM

    If you want to make a change to help the game, OFFER THE GAMES ONLINE and let us choose ala-carte, so we only pay for one game and our team, not for the entire league. It’s insane that all we can get now is pirate coverage that you (the NFL) keeps getting shutting down.

  31. freedomispopular says: Mar 21, 2011 4:25 PM

    What’s next? Reduce the field size to 50 yards?

  32. lorenbmcp says: Mar 21, 2011 4:49 PM

    If I could move 5 yards closer to the other teams end zone…

    I wouldn’t have to kick as hard so I could improve accuracy.

    I could put more air under the ball increasing hang time.

    This will result in many more balls being downed inside the 5 yard line.

    At some point coaches will demand their return man field the ball and make some positive yards.

    Leading to DEFENSELESS return men getting decleated!

    This doesn’t make the game safer, it makes it significantly more dangerous.

    I can’t wait to see the hits of the week replays!

  33. thefiesty1 says: Mar 21, 2011 5:09 PM

    Not a good idea. How can they conduct business during the lockout? Change giving the ball on the forty when it is kicked out of bounds on kickoffs. If a touchback, they get it on the 20. Should be the same if kicked out of bounds. They better have a kicker that can kick straight anyway instead of avoiding kicking to a player that might run it back on them.

  34. mayfieldroadboy says: Mar 21, 2011 5:22 PM

    @ ithacabigblue
    I have always hated artificial turf. And you are so correct; the “carpet” is wrinkled, coming up at the seams, like concrete. What ever happened to grass and dirt? Less pretty, yet less painful.

  35. CKL says: Mar 21, 2011 6:03 PM

    Whenever BB says, “You’ll have to ask___________” it’s usually his way of getting a little dig in at _____________. I love it.

  36. habsman says: Mar 21, 2011 6:19 PM

    Be careful Bill, Roger (Former Jet Employee) Goodell might sanction you and take away one of those first round picks if you critisize too much.

  37. chopblocker55 says: Mar 21, 2011 8:57 PM

    It doesnt make sense…I wanna make it known I completely disagree with this rule change but wouldn’t this encourage a return…your’re five yards closer so kick it higher for more air, that way you’d definitely tackle them within the 25….why would you wanna give the offense 5 more yards

  38. souldogdave says: Mar 22, 2011 7:24 AM

    In time, opposing players will be at video consoles controlling virtual players, right? The ultimate Madden?

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