If kickoffs go away, what’s next?

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The recent disclosure by Giants co-owner John Mara that the game of football is “evolving toward” the disappearance of the kickoff has been interpreted by many as a not-so-subtle hint that the kickoff eventually will disappear.

Though many believe that would be a significant mistake, most of the folks who feel that way won’t have a vote.

So once the kickoff goes the way of the dodo bird and/or the McRib, what’s next?

I looked at four other possible changes during Monday’s PFT Live.

Here’s the part where you grumble about having to watch a video.

And here’s the part where you watch the video.

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31 responses to “If kickoffs go away, what’s next?

  1. “So once the kickoff goes the way of the dodo bird and/or the McRib, what’s next?”

    Sorry Florio but this analogy doesn’t work. The McRib keeps on coming back.

  2. Though delicious, when eating a McRib one should consume it with their eyes closed. During kickoff returns Roger Goodell should do the same.

  3. Here is what I find most odd:

    These are all adults that know the hitting of the head continuously can cause damage, sometimes. There are thousands of ex-players in business, providing sportscasting, etc. Why can’t each incoming player be given a video explaining all the risks, and then sign off on those risks as not holding the NFL or any other person or entity liable? Where is the FREEDOM to do what WE WANT TO DO AS CITIZENS OF THE US. Say NO to government overreach. Start TORT LAW now.
    The NFL, the UFC or the WBC should be allowed to do what they want. It is still a partially free country. If an adult does not want the risk, go be an accountant.

    It is just like the cigarette lawsuit. The crooked Federal Government sues the cigarette companies as liable for providing health damaging cigarettes, yet after the lawsuit, they allow the cigarette companies to continue selling them. It is either bad for you or it isn’t. But no, the Federal Government is addicted to the money more than people get addicted to nicotine.

    I can’t wait for the lawsuits against the government for that and for taxing people different amounts. Talk about treating people differently???

  4. Please keep up the rhetoric on this Mike. I would hate to see them alter the game further. I already think they screwed up with moving the kickoff up last season. Taking it away completely would be a serious error, I think…

  5. This article shows people the actual thinking of ANYONE, to include Florio, associated with the NFL.

    “Though many believe that would be a significant mistake, most of the folks who feel that way won’t have a vote.”

    Ummm to be honest those hundreds of thousands of people have the only vote that matters and it is their TIME and MONEY.

    Stop watching TV – Ratings go away
    Stop Going to Games – Moneys go away.

    Look if I can still watch PURE FOOTBALL, and not watered down football played by a bunch of spoiled players I will. Even if it includes High School and College.

    KEEP ALIENATING your fans and SEE what happens…..

    Once again Hell with Player safety. Volunteer Sport, that INJ could happen but they are compensated very well.

    Want to see another Volunteer Career were major Injures and death can happen, the Military, and we are compensated like crap and you do not see people saying wait we need to take away real bullets and turn it into a laser tage game.


  6. The fact is most serious injuries do occur on kick returns. Kevin Everett who suffered a broken neck as a member of the Bills coverage unit is a large reason why the NFL eventually moved kickoffs up to the 35 yd line.

    I’m all for it. The rules today are so one sided towards the offense anyway. Making them march 80 yards to score gives the defense a better chance to stop a drive. We already have Arena league like scoring,so I have no problem giving the defense a little help.

  7. As I mentioned yesterday, the easiest thing to do is put the ball on the receiving teams 20 yard line. There’s a two minute break for the teams to switch(and for TV to get in commercials–the most important thing to the NFL, not the game) then off you go.
    Now there’s a score, the extra point, a two minute break for commercials, the kickoff, then another two minute break for commercials, then play resumes.

    So you eliminate one commercial break. Gee, the world would end, no?

  8. Take away the kick-off. Give the “kicking team” the ball on their own 35 but on 4th and 10.

    They can either punt the ball away or have one shot to make 10-yards, providing the equivilant of an onside kick.

    Punt returns still offer excitement and special teams opportunities. Well, until they get banned for being too dangerous as well.

    The NFL just need to find some way to play test the concept and then adjust the starting point and yardage to gain to provide the best experience.

    Maybe starting on 4th and 10 makes it too easy to hold on to the ball, May be it needs to be 4th and 15. That, or make the team in possession start closer to their own goal line.

  9. Why not eliminate tackling also. If they play two hand touch many injuries will be prevented. Or maybe everyone could stand at midfield and play a football simulator. Each player can control his man. Although some people get seizures and may sue.

    I guess its best to cancel the league and run a computer sim on TV…

  10. I think all this nfl patty cake is truly going to lead to another pro football league. the afl came about because the nfl became boring. seems to me the nfl is moving down the same path now.

  11. jeffesky says:
    Apr 17, 2012 8:57 AM
    I think all this nfl patty cake is truly going to lead to another pro football league. the afl came about because the nfl became boring. seems to me the nfl is moving down the same path now.

    I’d love to see this,but a rival league can’t survive now. The AFL was successful in large part because the NFL only consisted of 16 teams when they formed. Teams didn’t exist in large cities like Houston,Denver and Boston. There are no big cities left to support a team from a rival league. Having one in the same city with an established NFL team wouldn’t work either.

  12. I think the kick-off should be at the 50. The kicking team can either kick long and force a touchback or onside kick to regain possession. If they fail, the receiving team will probably start their drive from their 40.

  13. If kickoffs go away, what’s next? The fans start to go away. With all the rule changes this game is slowly starting to suck.
    I am a Giants fan and John Mara better get a clue. I mean look at the Rangers hockey game, guys are fighting and checking each other into the boards and nobody says let’s change the rules, you know why, because hockey players are men, and the NFL is made up of a bunches of pansies, its almost embarrassing the way the league has reacted to things that have been around for decades. What would LT, Ronnie Lott, Chuck Cecil, and these guys think about this league today? My guess is they would say it reminds them of the NY Jets, a complete joke.

    Get real idiots…totally embarrassing.

  14. I’m guessing the winner of the coin flip, if they opt to receive in the first half, will start from the 20 or 25. Then eventually the game will turn into a 7 on 7.

  15. If it goes the way of the McRib, does that mean we’ll have kickoffs for one month of the season in select markets?

  16. You can’t make a contact sport completely safe. You can’t even make basketball or running safe. You can make them safer, but there has to be line where you stop tinkering with the rules or the sport will be ruined forever. Adding the armor now worn was done in the name of safety but it’s made things worse. Tinkering is often not good and the results cannot be forseen. I think like boxing and UFC and rugby and hockey there is a risk to playing that has to be understood by players.

  17. watching this video makes me want to cry. If these rules go in effect my favorite sport is done.

  18. The NFL has become so boring and predictable I don’t care if I am home by 1:00 PM on sunday if I have stuff to do.

    Have the players sign a waiver in the contracts that they understand they might get hurt by hitting each other, then give them the rule book from 1975 and tell them to go play.

    Thank God there is NFL Films. I get more enjoyment watching a game from the past that I know who wins then watching a game in today’s NFL.

    AND STOP THE HYPE!!! Do we need a 3 hour show on the 2012 schedule?

  19. If this happens I would just have to give up on the game that I love and start watching more of the local HS games here in TX they would be a lot more exciting and cheaper.

  20. At the rate he’s going, Goodell will neuter defenses and make it illegal to hit the quarterback long before he eliminates kickoffs. I’m all for safety, but the emphasis should be on improving the quality of the equipment. New helmet technology can do as much or more to address the concussion issue as castrating the game.

    And if you want to eliminate something superfluous, then do away with the extra point as it stands now. Either move the kickers much, much further back for the point try or let them go for two. The “it’s a given” one-point kick adds nothing to the excitement of the game except on the extremely rare occasion when it’s missed.

  21. You know you have a good gig when people take time to register to comment on your site about how they don’t do stuff on your site. Or to tell you how stupid your opinion is, as they continue to come to the site…

    Having said that, If safety is the major concern, and concussions being at the forefront of that, it seems simply the way to reverse this trend. Do away with helmets.

    Yes helmets were fashioned as a safety tool, but what they have turned into, by today’s standards any way, are weapons. One could argue that the evolution of equipment is to blame for the evolution of the “violent collision” in the game. The equipment give these young men a false sense of security, and an inhibited Superman complex.

    As we look at the history of football, with each equipment upgrade, if you will, the violence of the hits grew as well. The question becomes, “Does the increased protection offset the increase in physical risks players will take because they think they are safer?”

    The answer is no, and it never has. As a matter of fact, through technology and innovation, the equipment has gotten smaller and smaller, and harder and harder. Remember the shoulder pads Emmit Smith or Tony Dorsett wore? I remember Christian Okoye looked like a tank running over people with those shoulder pads. Now, running backs wear shoulder pads the kickers would have worn back then. In a size comparison, if you were to put Lambert on the field beside Woodley, you’d barely notice the at least 50 pound weight difference, just because the equipment of the 1970’s was so large.

    Eliminating the helmet would not be that inconceivable. How many players wear ANY of the pads that were standard issue to protect below the waist? Return men do not. Offensive linemen do not. Many running backs do not. And why? Because it slows them down, or decreases their flexibility or agility. The next question that begs to be answered is “When and why did this equipment become optional?” Is the NFL guilty of cherry picking when it comes to player safety?

  22. I think the waiver idea signed with the contracts, but there is one problem.

    The “contracts” nfl players agree to are really one sided agreements (not guaranteed).

    If players are expected to give up their short term and long term health then the payment they receive for doing so should be guaranteed.

  23. “Well Clint, if the Barnstormers can score here, they’ll cut the Crunchers’ lead to six points with thirty some seconds still on the clock, although all their timeouts will be gone!”
    “That’s right Joe, and then we’ll have the exciting placement of the ball at the Cruncher 20! I don’t understand why all the fans have left!”

  24. weneedlinemen42, your plan looks a lot like Greg Sciano’s.

    This is Schiano’s plan: Replace all kickoffs with a punting situation, including after the opening coin toss and to start the second half. So, as an example, when Team A scores a touchdown, it immediately gets the ball back on a fourth and 15 from its own 30-yard line.

    It can punt it back to Team B — the most likely outcome and a safer play since the bigger collisions usually happen on kickoffs.

    Or it can line up and go for the first down, essentially replacing an onside kick with an offensive play that would require more skill than luck.

  25. I’m not sure where I stand on this topic, I do know that football has a history of evolving and that’s what’s kept it as the top sport in this country for some time now. It would make sense to me that more serious injuries occur and do so more frequently on kickoffs. It’s obvious that serious injury rates & concussions are higher on plays where the acceleration portion of the mass x acceleration formula was greatly increased.

    From a 2007 Columbus, OH high school football study:

    Competition injuries are more severe during

    •32.7% of injuries on kickoffs and punts were “severe” (defined as 21 or more missed days), compared to 19.3% on other plays.

    •20.3% of injuries on kickoffs and punts were concussions, compared to 10.9% on other plays.

    High School is much different from the pros and technique and practice time probably has something with the above data but the NFL’s study probably shows similar results I’m assuming that’s why they’re headed this way.

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