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Mike Ditka critical of proposal to eliminate kickoffs

Packers Vs. Bears "Rivalry Cup" At Medinah Country Club Getty Images

Ever since Roger Goodell floated the idea proposed by Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano to eliminate kickoffs in a TIME magazine feature last week, many people have called the proposal ridiculous.

Former Chicago Bears tight end and coach Mike Ditka is just one of the latest to take a shot at the idea of eliminating kickoffs. During an appearance on Mike and Mike In The Morning on Monday, Ditka scoffed at the notion of getting rid of kickoffs for safety reason.

“Who the hell is going to take it out? Somebody who never played the game? Somebody who never coaches the game? We’re going to take the kickoff because it’s too dangerous? Well listen guys, driving a car is dangerous too. Getting on the bus is dangerous. There’s a lot of things that are dangerous. It’s your living. It’s what you do,” Ditka said, via Chris Chase of the USA Today.

If anything, Ditka would like to see even more kickoff returns.

“It’s an integral part of the game,” Ditka said. “It’s a skill part of the game. People who cover have to have courage, determination and skill. And the people who return certainly have to have that. To take that out of the game would be the stupidest thing they would ever do. I think they should move the kickoff back to the 15-yard-line and make more of them happen.”

The moving of kickoffs to the 35-yard line has cut down on the number of returns and getting rid of the wedge has made kickoffs safer for players. While it’s unlikely the league will move the kickoffs back to allow for more returns, it seems equally as unlikely that Schiano’s proposal would ultimately get any real legs either.

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32 Responses to “Mike Ditka critical of proposal to eliminate kickoffs”
  1. thestrategyexpert says: Dec 11, 2012 11:53 PM

    Ditka for Commissioner, and more exciting football! Pay these guys a max salary of $250k if you want to make a game that is completely safe. They get paid millions beyond what makes sense for what they do, so restricting action in the sport is a horrible thing to see. The rules should be changed to create MORE action, not less.

  2. wayne1693 says: Dec 12, 2012 12:11 AM

    The NFL should be more like Mike! More than any recent rule change, moving the kickoff to the 35 is the one fans hate the most. The KO is one of the most exciting plays in the game, and to now see 22 players, 7 refs, & an entire stadium watching the ball being caught in, or floating out of, the end-zone…really SUCKS!

  3. Scott says: Dec 12, 2012 12:14 AM

    This wouldn’t be am argument if there weren’t thousands of former players looking for a handout because they may (or may not) have been hurt, previously playing in the NFL.

    Goodell and the present NFL management are covering their asses because the possibility of future lawsuits. Can’t blame them for trying to protect the shield. It is a horrendous idea, but because of the lawsuits, I see why it has to be discussed,

  4. soforizo says: Dec 12, 2012 12:30 AM

    If the players were asking for this, I’d be more for it, but to have some front office nerds ask for it’s another issue. The physicality of football likely made them cringed as kids.

    I suspect that the taunting/excessive celebration penalty, instinctively brought memories of being bullied too. It’s a shame, even though I wasn’t a Rams fan, I used to love Kurt Warner’s Rams “Bob and Weave” celebration back in the day.

  5. ruffridin says: Dec 12, 2012 12:47 AM

    I agree with Ditka and so does the CFL. In Canada you get a penalty for kicking the ball out bounds between the 20s to encourage more returns on punts…no fair catch either (although the no yards rule isn’t perfect). They changed that rule recently to encourage more returns and excitement Every kickoff is returned too and I can’t recall the last time an injury occurred. Some will say it’s Canadian football blah blah blah but these are fast hard hitting athletes playing the game of football.

  6. ninthwardfriend says: Dec 12, 2012 12:56 AM

    I go to every saints home game and more than 80 percent or more get to there seats for the national anthem and the kickoff. That’s America man c’mon!!!! I saw in commercial Goodell mentioned “I played football myself it builds strong work ethic” I think he was on top of the pyramid.

  7. poppajohn818 says: Dec 12, 2012 1:07 AM

    I agree with Mike move the kickoff to the 15 yard line and let’s play

  8. huskersrock1 says: Dec 12, 2012 1:07 AM

    Ditka is right, this new proposal would radically change the game, it would also further increase the value of QB’s. Imagine the advantage Peyton Manning would bestow upon a team in a league where the benefit offside kick is accomplished with a 15 yard pass. I could see the Pats going for it quite often, or lining up hoping to get an offside call to cut the distance to 4 and 10 then going for it. This is such a stupid idea.

  9. hodaghunter says: Dec 12, 2012 1:29 AM

    Met Ditka for the first time a few weeks ago while he was watching the Alabama-Georgia game. He’s a straight shooter and honest. Even as someone who’s a die-hard packer fan I can appreciate him.

  10. zeeman911 says: Dec 12, 2012 1:55 AM

    Ditka played with less equipment back then and he seems to be doing just fine. Time to suck it up ladies, you get paid millions maybe if you didn’t blow it you wouldn’t be broke and faking injuries… It’s funny all the ex nflers who have jobs don’t seem to be looking for hand outs, i can could probably 100 guys dvery week, between broadcasters, announcers, coachs, coordinators, it’s the ones that don’t have a clue how to live the way they did before they had millions…

  11. whichiwhichwawa says: Dec 12, 2012 2:10 AM

    If I’m not mistaken isn’t Ditka part of the former players suing the league???

  12. calizcowboyz says: Dec 12, 2012 2:46 AM

    REALLY!!!! Why even play the damnn game anymore! Just hand out million dollar paychecks
    and make this the WWF!
    WTH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This league is becoming EMBARRASSING!!!

  13. edithpiaf51 says: Dec 12, 2012 3:35 AM

    The reasons the NFL is trying to be more safe is that we live in a litigious society where everyones sues everyone. There have been a perponderance of cases where former players have been hurt and sued the league, especially those with concussions. I personally think these guys get paid well enough to handle alittle roughness. One knows football is a dangerous game. I think it is completely ridiculous to get rid of the kickoff as that makes the game exciting. Let’s not make it a sissy game, otherwise we can all start watching baseball LOL

  14. jody46 says: Dec 12, 2012 3:43 AM

    that isn’t football, I guess I am not understanding what they want two do. It takes away more scoring opportunities. I just don’t want to watch defensive games. whats next take the qb away?

  15. jody46 says: Dec 12, 2012 3:51 AM

    oops meant to do not two do. they should put it back the way it was people could injured on any play in football almost. Its part of the game the players that play the game know there are chances of injury or maybe not even walking again if you go on that field. You act like football fans are watching gladiators and christians being eaten by animals. lol. I never think when I watch football about someone getting hurt that seriously that they can’t walk. It doesn’t happen enough for me to think that. Most Injuries can be recovered from. look what their doing to the qbs about concussions. they make dang sure as of late their ready to go back in with tests. I think the football players know thier risks and they do get paid a great bit on money for playing a game.

  16. trevor123698 says: Dec 12, 2012 3:55 AM

    But if they get rid of kickoffs what do they do with the 15 minutes of commercials that happen between every extra point and kickoff every sunday

  17. manningbowl88 says: Dec 12, 2012 4:27 AM

    finally someone with some sense speaking out!.. and as i do agree this is all a reaction to the lawsuit..theres only so much you can do, this kind of knowledge and technology wasnt around then as it gets better more ppl are aware.. at somepoint goodell needs 2 realize theres only so much u can do before u make someone sign waivers after 100 percent knowledge..or kill the game.

  18. randallflagg52 says: Dec 12, 2012 4:48 AM

    Mike Ditka is not amused…

  19. joetoronto says: Dec 12, 2012 4:50 AM

    “I think they should move the kickoff back to the 15-yard-line and make more of them happen.”

    I wish Coach Ditka was in charge.

  20. anotheridiotposter says: Dec 12, 2012 4:55 AM

    You guys are all wrong and so is Mike Ditka.

    Changing kickoffs to punts might actually make the game more exciting. Teams would have a better shot of getting back into contention at the end of games… Instead of having to recover an onside kick, they have to complete a 15 yard pass.

    I actually think this would make games more exciting in the fourth quarter when normally they might be out of reach, to where, there might be the perception that games stay exciting for longer and games go down to the wire more.

  21. elwaysmilehighdenver says: Dec 12, 2012 5:43 AM

    Coach Ditka is 100% correct. Eliminating
    the kickoff will only continue the downward
    spiral of the Not so Fun League.
    Ditka > Goodell.

  22. nlig says: Dec 12, 2012 5:59 AM

    The NFL should replace the game of football with an Xbox. The players can sit safely in their lazy boy at home play Xbox live, get paid their millions & nobody will have to worry about real life injuries or lawsuits.

  23. jessejames182 says: Dec 12, 2012 6:54 AM

    Everyone should get, rightfully, upset as possible right now. But it won’t do them any good, Goodel is going to do it “he is the NFL commissioner clothed in immense power!”. When he starts a rumor its Damn well a gurantee. Meanwhile people are still allowed to get as drunk as possible at games and spit and yell vulgarity at children, but hey you can see booth review on the jumbo tron now.

  24. eagleaniac says: Dec 12, 2012 7:43 AM

    If the league is really concerned about injuries and the health of the players then get rid of Thursday night football. The short turn around takes too much out of them and doesn’t give them enough time to heal from Sunday’s beating.

  25. andrejohnsonforpresident says: Dec 12, 2012 7:57 AM

    love ditka but I think he needs to worry about his own health and leave the important decisions to the people with actual knowledge on the situation

  26. patsfan13 says: Dec 12, 2012 8:16 AM

    If the league seriously tries to eliminate kickoffs, I think the NFLPA would have to fight it as it would probably eliminate a lot of jobs of the special teamers.

    Injuries can happen on any play, and to me, the players know the risks are the main reason of their high salaries. And even with all the touch backs, when a player does decide to run one out, it makes for an exciting play for the fans. Please leave it alone.

  27. godofwine330 says: Dec 12, 2012 8:31 AM

    I heard Ditka talking about this on Mike & Mike and I agree with him. The touchback-ing of the kickoff by moving the kickoff from the 30 to the 35 is silly, largely because a good percentage of the collisions already happen because it is not known whether the ball will go out of the endzone.

    The kickoff gives teams with horrible offenses, quarterbacks, receivers a chance to score as it always has . It is the ultimate punch/counterpunch. You just scored, now we just scored or got real close. To take that out of the game would be disasterous, but what they have already done has been pretty bad IMHO.

  28. dirkdeez says: Dec 12, 2012 9:04 AM

    This is ridiculous the game is getting completely loss and who is this Roger Goodell character so many changes in the game these pro players might as well start playing touch. I wouldn’t be surprise that 2 years from now that’s where we’ll be in pro football. No kickoffs come on people it’s well known that because of the move to the 35 yard line with all these touchbacks and back the endzone kicks it’s no excitement from returners like Devin Hester, Leon Washington or Josh Cribbs this game is getting loss completely Loss. Ditka for commissioner you have my vote.

  29. packhawk04 says: Dec 12, 2012 9:23 AM

    So, a former player who is suing the league because the league doesnt care about player safety is criticizing a move that would make the game more safe. Sounds like a typical player. We want more money because you didnt care about us, but at the same time, quit making rules to make it more safe.

  30. cometkazie says: Dec 12, 2012 5:11 PM

    Or a team can score right before halftime in a tight game, kickoff, recover a fumble on the kickoff, and score again and totally change momentum.

    Witness the 1982 LSU-FSU game.

  31. dallascowboysdishingthereal says: Dec 12, 2012 8:57 PM

    I’m with Dikta on this one. The NFL is becoming something other than football. Got to draw the line some where.

  32. raiderapologist says: Dec 12, 2012 10:14 PM

    Nice picture. Man boobs in horizontal stripes times two.

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