Goodell floats novel idea for replacing kickoffs

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has landed on the cover of TIME magazine.  The accompanying article contains plenty of interesting nuggets.

Here’s the first one that caught our eye.

Sean Gregory of TIME writes that one of the options being considered for replacing kickoffs entails giving the ball to the team that would have been kicking off at its own 30, automatically facing a fourth down and 15 yards to go.  The team can then choose to punt or go for it, via fake punt or otherwise.

In other words, the kickoff would be replaced with the punt, and the onside kick would be replaced with a fourth-down conversion roughly half the distance of Ray Rice’s recent catch-and-run.

The idea would be to remove completely the high-speed, open-field collisions between large men who dip their heads instinctively at impact and place extra pressure on the C3-C4 area of the spine.  While other injuries would be possible during the punt play that replaces the kickoff, the risk of catastrophic injury would be reduced.

The move also would make punters, long snappers, and gunners more important, along with punt returners.  In turn, kickoff specialists would become extinct, and return specialists who are much better returning kicks than punts would be far less valuable to the broader roster.

Goodell says the idea came from Bucs coach Greg Schiano.  The fact that Goodell mentioned to Gregory it means that the league is at least considering it — and that the league perhaps wants to see how folks react to the possibility.

Here’s your initial chance to react.

206 responses to “Goodell floats novel idea for replacing kickoffs

  1. Yea how about we just do touch football so no one gets hurt?

    This is ridiculous…the NFL players don’t even care, they make the sacrifice and they want to play the game the real way just like Ed Reed says.

  2. Yea how about we just do touch football so no one gets hurt?

    This is ridiculous…the NFL players don’t even care, they make the sacrifice and they want to play the game the real way just like Ed Reed says.

  3. I can see it now. Packers vs Bears. The Packers choose to ” kick ” to start the game. They convert the opening play. score on the drive. get to ” kick ” again. they convert again. score on the drive. See what i am getting at? There is a chance whoever wins the coin flip and decides to take that do or die play can convert it and all the other do or dies and never give the other team the ball.

  4. I actually think this is great on every level. It is safer, adds more opportunity for the offense to get it back if they are down a few points late, and doesn’t take away from the integrity of the game. Well done!

  5. So there are no high speed, open field collisions on punt returns as the returner is looking to the sky trying to snag the ball?
    This is the dumbest idea yet.

  6. Kick-offs should be like this: a table is placed on the 50 yard line with a pot of tea and cups & saucers. The teams each team picks a player from the other side to see who can drink the most tea the fastest. Then the winning team gets the ball at the 50. Just as plausible as Rogers idea.

  7. There’s been a ton of injuries this year, but I can’t think of one happening on kickoffs (maybe i’m wrong, if I am someone enlighten me). There’s a lot of injuries on INT returns. Should we ban interceptions now too???

  8. Punters, with no rush hurrying them would routinely punt the ball out of bounds inside the 10. Starting position for offense would go from about the 25 to an average that is well inside the 15.

  9. LOL Idea comes from Greg Schiano to avoid injuries. Like crashing Victory formations doesn’t injure players?

  10. Interesting idea but my initial thought is that 15 yards is too short in today’s league. Make it 4th and 20 and then it’s closer to the odds of making an onside kick.

  11. I at least give him some points for creativity. I am not sure I would be in favor of it, but I don’t HATE the idea. I remember being against the 2-point conversion at first, but I can’t imagine it not being part of the game now.

  12. Players might be fine with the collisions while they are playing, but it seems as soon as they retire they want to sue the league for not doing enough to keep them from being old, decrepit vegetables.

    Goodell is being charged with finding a middle ground to show they are at least trying to lessen injuries and long term effects on players’ bodies. Meanwhile, overly-indignant fans (who aren’t the ones getting hit) are calling for his head.

    The league wants the class action suits to go away, and stay away…so stop being shocked that these changes are coming.

  13. Why don’t all of the players in the NFL that get paid the league minimum, (which is 5-6 times more than a regular middle class American makes yearly) jet start wearing Maxi-pads when they play?

  14. seems unfair to the defense. If you have it at the 30, snap it back to the 20, you need to boot it 50 yards just to get the ball on the other teams 30, and thats if there is no return

  15. I don’t like the idea of replacing the kickoff with anything…but the fact is, it’s inevitable and with so many kickoffs going for touchbacks with the ball being spotted at the 35…who really cares? Kickoffs are terrible in this league right now. The thing I don’t like about this idea is that the odds of converting a 4th and 15 seem much greater than the odds of recovering an onside kick…maybe 4th and 20 would be a better idea.

  16. Odds of converting a 4th & 15 are far greater than those of recovering an onsides kick. This would make it much easier for teams down by big margins late in games to come back. Don’t like it one bit.

  17. I really hope they are not seriously considering this idea. For one, a kick return can be one the most exciting plays of the game to watch and teams have drafted players and invested money into that one play. For two, in my opinion, a fourth and 15 would be much easier to convert than an onside kick. That is unfair to the defense who was just on the field for a scoring drive to have to go back out there and try to stop them one more time. It is just another way of making the league more offensive again. Haven’t they done enough, just leave it alone.

  18. Maybe they should replace the kick off with a game of patty cake by the captains. Whoever wins gets the ball first.

  19. As weird as this idea is I think i’d prefer it to what we see now. Watching every kicker other than Jason Hanson kick it out of the end zone everytime is getting pretty old.

  20. The sad part here is that most of the above comments are essentially shots at Goodell. If you really think about it, the idea isn’t a bad one. Actually, it’s a fantastic alternative IF the rule were to be changed. The only reason nobody likes it is because of the man proposing it.

  21. At a certain point, you just have to accept that there are risks to playing the game. The guys are amply compensated for these risks. Educate them on the risks, and let them make the decision about whether or not the compensation is worth the risk.

  22. this would probably replace the desinated hitter change as the worst sports change in history.

  23. As others have mentioned, it’s a lot easier for an offense to convert a 4th and 15 than it is for a hands team to recover an onside kick. I don’t want scenarios where one team’s offense never sees the field because the other one never kicks it away.

  24. The idea is worth considering. Like it or not, the amount of injuries from high speed collisions is something that needs to be addressed. All of us as fans love the kick offs but if players are getting injuries that affect them long term something needs to be changed.

  25. Im in favor of it, especially near the end of the game, when a team is up by more than 8 points, it is nearly impossible to recover an onside kick because the kick needs to travel 10 yards before the kicking team can recover it.. This would make teams think twice about allowing a garbage time td when there up by more than 1 possession and actually make them play some defense in those situations.

    Let’s be progressive here, the kickoff is usually pretty boring if you ask me, its either a touchback.. or the guy returns it to the 20-30 yard line, or there is a big return wiped out by a holding or block in the back…

    Let’s do it!

  26. Continuing his mission to completely ruin the game of professional football. How this moron continues to exist in the NFL is beyond me!!!

  27. This person will stay in power as long as we watch. When ratings go down, which is the ONLY way we will be heard, is when he will get fired.

  28. I can’t even put into words that would be allowed on this site how atrocious and ridiculous this idea is.

    Attorneys have take over this country and much much for the worse.

    What’s next after that ? Players having to sign waivers before every play acknowledging they assume the risk of injury? Every team needing an attorney on the sideline to advise the coaches if the play they’re going to call increases the team’s liability and therefore they can’t call it ?

    I see a league that in another 10 years in going to resemble the a recent South Park episode, Sarcastiball. Or maybe they’ll just put 5 year old girls out on the field because they aren’t physically strong enough to cause any serious injuries.

  29. That is just a form of make it -take it in basketball, a team could score 3 or 4 times before the other team ever got the ball back on offense. This has to be a joke.

  30. So teams with a great offense can have an even bigger advantage than they already do over the defense? Kansas city wouldn’t have ever had the ball this year if this rule were in place. What a horrible idea. Leave the sport alone.

  31. I like it.

    Teams will still get the ball around the 25 yard line. This also gives Punters higher value and protects one of your main scoring threats (kickers).

    It also makes the ‘onside kick’ more exciting. Now it’s simply a kick that only goes 8 yards or gets hoofed out of bounds.

    Final note- Thanks for including ‘no opinion’. This is often times an option that is left out and forces skewed poll #’s.

  32. How about replacing kickoffs altogether with: (1) if you gave up a TD, you get the ball on your own 20; (2) if you gave up a FG, you get the ball on your own 30.

    Also, why not eliminate x-tra points (with touchdowns automatically being 7 pts), since x-tra pt plays are boring and do involve collisions on the o- and d-lines.

    I would go further and eliminate FGs. If you want to score, you gotta score TDs. This would also incorporate more of a field position chess game. If youre on your opponents 9-line and its 4th and goal, you go for it, and if you’re unsuccessful, youve pinned your opponent deep in their own territory.

  33. Why don’t we just have a hot dog eating contest and the receiving team gets 5 yards per hot dog eaten. If they heave, it is a turnover…..this league is turning into a joke.

  34. Terrible idea with the way the Refs pass out Defensive Pass Interference and Holding calls on CBs these days.

  35. So like Frozen said you could possibly (though perhaps improbable) have a team score twice or more without the other team even have a chance at touching the ball.
    Just go to free kicks.

  36. Players will get hurt no matter what. When a kickoff goes deep in the endzone the returner has the choice to avoid injury and take a knee. The majority of time, they try to run it out if they have any chance at all. Maybe if the ball gets to the endzone it’s a touchback regardless. Less returns=less injuries right?

  37. It makes the pass game even more integral than it already is. Obviously they are trying to do all they can to make the run game a relic of the past. I’d actually like to see some sound statistics on which aspects of the game coincide with the different kinds of injuries the players end up with. Seems like a lot of the time on kickoffs & punts, players end up injuring their legs / knees and not their heads, but that’s just my casual observance.

  38. I like it. I know most of us dislike the rule changes due to safety (and in most cases I agree), I think this could be a good idea. The onside kick always struck me as a little weird. Having an actual play run on a very long 4th down would fit into the “normal” style of play better.

    I am worried about tiny defensive penalties giving what amounts to an onside kick, though. I don’t want a 5 yard holding penalty to result in a first down.

  39. ever since the ball got spotted closer kickoffs have been a joke so who really cares…..hmm but i do care about the onside kick though, so i say no Goodel, jus go away

  40. Keep this ip and in 5 years the NFL will be a Punt, Pass & Skills competition (or the Canadian Football League)

  41. You would think if you wore a helmet to work everyday you might have the possibility of getting hit in the head. I don’t remember anyone ever being forced to play the game, they can all get a “normal” job like the rest of us if they want.

  42. Maybe I’m missing something here, but if you want to eliminate injuries why not just eliminate the kick off and give it to the recieving team at their 20 yard line. It’s not like that’s what happens 9 times out of 10 anyway. Would probably eliminate some commercial breaks too.

  43. That is by far the dumbest thing I have ever heard!!!

    Also that cover really puts me in a foul mood…Goodell you are not “The Enforcer” you are “The Great Fraud!!!!

  44. I have a friend who played college football at OSU, and playing on the kickoff team, he was drilled in the head, and when he woke up, he didn’t recognize anyone, not even his own family. It took weeks for everything to come back to him. He was never cleared to play football again and will have permanent brain damage. This happened about three years ago, and to this day, he can’t recall the hit or anything about that day.

    With that said, I think it’s ok if Goodell wants to make the game safer.

  45. A team takes the ball on a long drive 10-15 plays,scores, the opposing defense is worn out. They need a rest. The team that scores sees this ,knows that, so what team wouldn’t take that chance. If its about safety there is more of a chance to get hurt if you’re tired and just got done trying to stop em. Oh wait I forgot Goodell doesn’t give a crap about defenders.

  46. Not the kickoff but in regards to the coin toss – they should do what the XFL did. A race to the ball. Maybe add an additional player from each team around the ball (10yards away) and can get the ball too once it’s first touched by the racers.

  47. I like it better than Jerome Boger’s idea of just throwing a flag every time a team returns a kick-off.

  48. Didn’t anyone ever notice that not a whole lot of bone crunching hits actually happen on kickoffs?

    They run down the field full speed…. then slow down to almost a stop as they break down.

    Watch any kickoff, that’s actually all that happens.

    And quite frankly, it’s usually a punt returner that gets absolutely smoked.

  49. No fan of Goodell here, but I do think that the concussion lawsuits have more or less forced the league to start putting out these sorts of changes. They have to do *something* in response to the lawsuits (“You guys want to sue? Fine. Here’s what we’ll do”).

    With that in mind, I’m almost inclined to blame the players union, not Goodell.

  50. Some teams have great special teams and they are still making plays even though they move the ball the 5 yards. I think every fan that watches the NFL thought the Kick Return was one of the most exciting parts of the game. Now we watch big legs kick the ball out of the back of the end zone and guys like Hester, Cribbs and Washington all watch it sail over their heads and we go to another commercial. How about leave the game the way it was meant to be played and no more ideas from the XFL days.

  51. Why do we continue to want to change this game of football? If you want to change something give back some of the defense. Games with scores of basketball we want to see in March not Sept to Feb. No wonder so many teams can’t sell out, the game really isn’t fun at times to watch. No consitency in any thing the NFL does anymore. You don’t even want to buy a players jersey, he may or may not be suspended next year.

  52. I would love to see a player poll on this. My thought would be a resounding “Are you kidding me?!?!”

    They pretty much already took the kickoff away. Leave it alone.

  53. I gotta say yall are crazy. Goodell has grown the league alot since he took over. He has done some questionable things as far as the lockout went but come on… he is dealing with a bunch of people to try and make happy. I love football the way it is, but if they changed the kickoff format to something like this I would be ok with it. No team will be able to convert the 15 yard play on a consistent basis, and if they dont then the other team is already in field goal range. Id be willing to say that the percentages of making a 4th and 15 are not that much higher than recovering an onside kick. This could save some concussions and provide a little excitement to the game is a team is 2 scores down with 2 min to go.

  54. The league already is too much of a quarterback driven league as it is. The few teams with elite quarterbacks will benefit from this change far more than the rest of the teams, because they are the ones much more likely to convert 4th and long. So the few teams that are lucky to have an elite QB will get another advantage over teams without the rare elite QB. It will make QBs even more valuable and that will put even more pressure on the league to protect QBs.

  55. First, this is a terrible idea. Second, this would completely change how teams go about building their offense! Teams that are run heavy (49’er, Hawks, Ravens) would be at a competitive disadvantage over pass heavy (Packers, Pats, Saints) and thus you’d see an even greater diminishing of the run game.
    You can’t take the kickoff out of football! I don’t care if they all end up being touchbacks! There’s just something about that initial moment when the ball is kicked off where all that pent up energy explodes into a 60 minute battle! And come on can you really see all those flashbulbs going off for a punt to start a Super Bowl?

  56. I wonder what is more probable: recovering an onside kick or converting a 4th-and-15. I would guess the onside kick.

    Also, a big part of me wonders if they don’t just get rid of the kickoff and start teams at their own 20. I don’t particularly love any idea I’ve heard so far, but that seems like the most logical to me. The biggest drawback I can think of (I’m sure there are more) is that it eliminates the onside kick at the end of games when a team is trying to come back. And again, what percentage of games is actually decided by a team recovering an onside kick at the end?

  57. It would never fly by the compitition commitee. Godell is takin advise from schiano now? That is the dumbest idea yet to date.

  58. If Goodell is so set on being the commissioner of Major League Soccer, I am sure they will have him.

    I don’t know what the guys problem with football is, but we are already 5 crappy rules chages on the wrong side of his reign.

    I understand that the NFL is privately held, and he is damn lucky that it is…. if it was publicly held, or he was beholden to the fans in any way……

    He would be out of that office so fast he would need concussion testing.

  59. You people do realize that Goodell can’t just unilaterally make these or any other changes. Rule changes are voted on by the owners and require 3/4 majority.

    I’m not defending Goodell as a good commissioner or not, but it you don’t like the rule changes, blame the owners, not the commissioner.

  60. A simpler solution would be to have just 2 kickoffs. One to start the game and one to start the second half.

    Otherwise, whether in regulation or overtime, the offensive team starts with the ball on the 20 yard line after any score.

    Problem solved.

    Less kickoffs. Less potential for high impact collisions, while retaining some of the tradition of professional football.

  61. I really don’t think this is such a terrible idea. The kick-off really is a dangerous play in comparison to all other plays. I think the kick-off will be gone eventually, so we need ideas like this. With all of the news I hear about long-term brain injuries from just every down plays, much less the most violent plays, I truly do worry about the long term viability of the sport.

  62. Lets go the whole hog right now. Lets have all games decided by Madden or Accuscore simulations. They can still be televised live, still have fantasy football, no contract disputes, no injuries, no owners, no players.

    The way this league is going we are well on the way to this scenario.

    Leave the game ALONE!!!!

  63. First off, in my opinion, this has to be the dumbest thing I’ve read in a long time! If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! Simple as that! If these players were making 50,000 a year, I get that. But they make more than most of us will ever see and they adults so they know the risks they’re taking.

  64. geektriumvirate says: Dec 6, 2012 10:11 AM

    Goodell is a joke….worst commissioner in ALL of sports
    Goodell is horrible but doesn’t rig the unapologetically rig the draft every year (Stern), or be shown routinely palling around with Jerry Jones (Steinbrenner) at Cowboys (Yankees) games (Selig). And moreover, Goodell doesn’t force the NFL to give up large shares of its profits to fund a nonsensical, nonprofitable Womens Professional Football League that nobody wants to watch (Stern).

  65. I agree with gn74. I have never liked kickoffs and especially field goals. Only in football can you get points rewarded for partially reaching your goal. Plus the partial reward isn’t even earned by the 11 guys on the field trying to reach the ultimate goal. It is earned by 1 player that wasn’t ever on the field trying to reach the main goal. To make it even more rediculous, it’s possible for 1 team to earn the same or larger award despite the 11 guys on the field doing worse to accomplish the main goal. The FG and extra points are stupid and pointless. The main portion (and point) of the game is the 22 people that play trying to reach the goal of getting the ball across their goal line. That is what should decide every game, not fg kickers and returners. Take those aspects away and you will actually add excitement to the game. I think the only reason people are against it is because of tradition. But, how many of you play football in the backyard? Do any of you play with FG’s and xtra points? I know, my friends and I don’t. We don’t do returns either. Heck, you could do away with punts too. Imagine if you won the coin toss and you knew you could never punt. That might add strategy to choosing to have the ball first or kickoff. It also would make teams alot more aggressive on offense, which would make football more exciting.

  66. Dear Terminal Cancer,
    Please find this man Roger Goodell and make a lovely home in his prostate, I hear it’s wonderful this time of year and you’ll probably run into John Mara, it appears he spends a lot of time there finding ways to sabotage division rivals.


    Every fan that’s tired of watching our most loved game become a media bandwagon puppet at the fingers of corrupt greedy fine happy hypocritical football killing cream puffs in suits.

  67. I do agree with protecting the players from injury. I also agree with protecting the league from being sued, but somewhere there has to be a line drawn. Football is a physical game and players know this. What’s next? Soldiers that are injured in war are going to start suing the government for placing them in harms way? Soldiers know what they are getting in to and know they have a chance of going to war and getting killed. I have the most up respect and can’t thank them enough for there choice. Point is Life is a gamble and it’s up to the person to decide their bets. If they don’t want to take a chance getting hurt, trade in the luxury life for a desk job making $12.00 per hour, living check to check, a possibly getting a paper cut. Problem solved!!!

  68. Roger Goodell can’t quit screwing with the game, and he won’t stop until he kills the NFL.

  69. This rule would destroy madden football. Any good player would just get first ball and never give possession to the other team. Please for the sake of the video game just let it be.

  70. The other option being floated is that instead of a kick off, the players gather at midfield holding hands and sing “kumbaya my lord”.

  71. Not sure if the players union will support this. the rule would eliminate 2 specialty positions, kick returner and would eliminate kick-off specialists that some NFL teams use. It’s great for punters though.

    Can’t say i dislike the idea, but a lot of questions would have to be answered. Like, in the age of vertical passing is a 4th and 15 easier or harder to convert then an onside kick? Maybe place the ball on the 30 and require a 4th and 20? Forcing them to at least get to mid field. Also not sure why a long snapper would be necessary if you set it up like the free kick after a safety.

  72. Can someone explain the NEED to change the fundamental game of American football? Please?

    What is with Goodell anyway? Why is he CONSTANTLY trying to change game fundamentals?

    Also, the reaction that I got from the Time cover, “The Enforcer”, made me almost choke on my lunch, from laughing so hard. there are other things I would label Goodell before I’d apply “The Enforcer”!

  73. Here’s what should happen:

    Have every player in the league, and who joins the league going forward, sign a waiver. This waiver should state the dangers of playing football, and explaining they are, in some way, responsible for decisions that affect their health in the future. Should the player acknowledge such risks, they cannot sue the league at anytime in the future. Therefore, we can move on from this fear of a lawsuit mess, and get on with FOOTBALL!

  74. “The Packers lead is cut to six as the Patriots punt the ball off…it’s a high hanger as Desmond Howard settles under it and calls for a fair catch at the 20.” Yeah, Goodell, that would have been an exciting moment in Super Bowl history.

  75. I love it! Onside kick replaced with going for it on 4th and 15. And yes, there are a lot less high speed collisions on a punt return, anyone that doesn’t know that hasn’t ever stepped foot on a football field. And contrary the the current consensus this doesn’t somehow lesson the brutality of the game. It replaces a generally boring ass play(touchback) with a punt return or a 4th and 15. Think before you post. This is a great freaking idea!

  76. The NFL might as well higher statitions to figure out all the probabilities of the game and virtually simulate them onto the tv. That way Rodger Goodell could avoid all injuries, and take all the best aspects of live football away.

  77. I was thinking more like “The Iron Nanny” instead of “Enforcer” of the NFL. Agree with the sentiment of the others that is against this. It’s a horrible idea.

    Injuries do occur. As much as we don’t like seeing it happen. Goodell can’t legislate that out of the game. No matter how many new age rules he can come up to ensure safety.

    Whatever you learned from Pop Warner through College. The culture change you are about to receive is going to shock you. Upcoming rookies will need to disregard the basic fundamentals of tackling, blocking, special team play. The penalties will be harsh if you don’t follow the new NFL rules.

  78. kracker315: I gotta say yall are crazy. Goodell has grown the league alot since he took over.

    I gotta say you’re crazy. Football was the most popular and profitable sport in America long before anyone heard of Roger Goodell.

  79. Super lame idea. How about firing the commissioner so that we can get new ideas that are good? The game needs to be cleaned up and changed on a number of fronts, including replacing the lame kickoff into the back of the endzone or out of bounds scenario we currently have, but not with this.

  80. As if Punt Returners face no problems. In my opinion they face tougher challenges than kick off returners. Often times they are hit as they catch the ball whereas kickoff returners have time to see the field. Makes no sense.

  81. Just devalue the 3 point field goal. 1 point if over 50 yards, no points if under 50 yards. Teams can move up and down the field almost at will and then stop and kick a field goal. Anybody that wants to see a field goal contest can watch soccer. Boring!

  82. The next generation of children are going to be so confused how to start their backyard football games if this happens.

  83. If we are getting rid of kickoffs, just make a rule that after a score or beginning of a half, the other team gets the ball on their own 20. Screw the onside kick or any ideas for how the losing team can get the ball back late in a tight game. The inability to regain the ball is the trade off for safety. See how the players and the fans like that one.

  84. Found these stats on Google, in 2008 Advance Stats listed 20% of 3rd and 15 were converted into first downs. The kicking team recovers onside kicks about 25% time, with the percentage greatly dropping when a receiving team knows an onside kick is coming. I would expect that the new kickoff play would also move below 20% as defense will have less room to cover.

    Also how would punting the ball instead of kicking the ball impact starting field position? Assuming a regular punt play, we would see block punts, shanked punts, shorter kicks but shorter returns, im just not sure how it would play out.

  85. Why not just give each team 2 or 3 “Automatic touchbacks” like they do with Time-Outs and Challenges? Adds a little strategy and keeps at least a few kickoffs around. Plus, you could use one from your own goal line if you wanted. Boom. like a 79 yard punt. It’s a simple addition that keeps the chess-like components of the game intact (might even enhance them), makes things a bit safer (6 occasions where possession “magically” switches hands with no flying bodies), and doesn’t make a circus of the game.

  86. not sure whether i’m in favor of this or not….

    …but i must say, i’m not surprised that its my Bucs coach that came up with this idea after the Eric LeGrand injury.

  87. Here’s an idea. Whoever wins the coin toss, can either choose to kick or recieve. The losing coin toss opponent can pick field direction, or punch Roger Godell in the goat sack. I would never miss a toss for the excitment level alone. NFL Ticket on TV would sure get alot more subscribers!!!!

  88. Hello everybody it’s Brent Musburger and you are looking live at “Soft-Bowl” 2012 from sunny San Fransico. Goodell is starting to take it too far and ruining a once great game. I still long for the days of fake casts, clotheslines and stick-um. Just kidding about the casts and clotheslines but you get my drift.

  89. The Commissioner’s in between a rock and a hard place.

    This eliminate-the-kickoff idea for the sake of player safety is an attempt to prove to some future judge that the NFL did all it could to protect players and is therefore not liable for injuries.

    Goodell’s primary responsibility is to keep the league profitable. Right now, that profitability is being threatened by a tsunami of very costly player lawsuits.

    I guess we’ll have to get use to the idea of wholesale change in football because something’s gotta give.

  90. geektriumvirate says:
    Dec 6, 2012 10:11 AM
    “Goodell is a joke….worst commissioner in ALL of sports”

    Here’s your future for football.
    Parents stop allowing their kids to play the game a little bit year after year until it becomes a problem because all the best athletes will be playing other sports.

    This just show how stupid the average NFL fan is, look at the vast majority agreeing.

    Bud Selig

    These 3 are so unbelievably far ahead of Goodell when comes to bad commishing it boggles the mind.

    All you sit on the coach, never played football in your lives types who CRY when the owners tell Goodell to make the game safer are as hilarious as you are stupid.

    FACT Most of you would NEVER show up to 2nd practice because football is too violent in reality and yas would stay home and yammer online like a tough guy instead.

    If you think Goodell is the WORST, you need to get out more

  91. This isn’t the XFL. So many great moments on kickoffs have swung a game in an instant! Music City Miracle, the band on the field, onside kicks made followed by a hail mary to win it. It is like asking soccer to go to 4 goals instead of two. Not the same game!

  92. Sounds intriguing, but won’t work with current enforcement of illegal contact.

    SO its 4th and 15 and you only need to get an illegal contact pentalty on that play to get the 5 yard penalty and first down?

    Doesn’t work.

  93. Why bother with any of it? Just do it like baseball–give the ball to the visiting team at their 20 or 25 yard line to start the game. After a team’s TD, the other team gets the ball at the 25, but after a FG, the other team gets the ball at their own 35 or 40.

  94. The only reason this is getting a negative reaction here is because people naturally tend to reject change. It’s an emotional response. If you actually stop and think about it, it’s a brilliant plan and would make the game more interesting.

  95. Goodell is terrible.

    First, he continues to play “America’s game” over seas.

    Second, he changes the Super Bowl logo so it is uniform for EVERY SB played from here out. Stupid!

    Third, he eliminates tackling.

    And the final straw, he now wants to eliminate kickoffs.

    Sadly, this last idea may be his dumbest yet!

  96. Eliminating kickoffs is a good idea. There are many pros and cons to consider. However, replacing the kickoff with this “punt option” is ridiculous. It makes no sense.

    They should consider eliminating kickoffs by taking a page out of the baseball book. The NFL is all about parity now anyway. Take away the coin flip and give the visiting team the ball to start the game at the 25 yard line. Award the home team the ball to begin the 2nd half and call it a day. It’s the most fair way to execute the elimination of kickoffs and provide a fair and balanced alternative. No on will miss kickoffs or coin flips except for the Vegas odds makers and those of us who will gamble on anything “tails never fails”.

    In another 10 year our kids that grow up playing this game not ever having know what a kickoff was wont miss it in the least. And the coaches for that matter are going to be able to spend more time on offensive and defensive x’s and o’s teaching the kids more important aspects of the game.

    While football numbers are diminishing all across the board in this country because of the rising concerns over concussions, taking this step would go a long way in winning over some hearts and minds of parents considering football as a sport for their children. Making this effort now will help to ensure the future of the game.

  97. If Goodell is serious about this, then he needs to be replaced as commissioner.

    The game is called “football”. The rules have been set for the last 100+ years. Quit monkeying around with the game.

    This is a worse idea than placing a franchise in London.

  98. Why is this an issue with football only? What about boxing or MMA for instance…how many “punch drunk” retired fighters are there? Let’s make them fight with padding, helmets and gloves the size of basketballs. Nobody would watch right? Part of the entertainment value is the danger aspect. This is entertainment after all. Players know this. Don’t play if you don’t want to risk injury.

  99. Are there any statistics on coverting a 4th and 15 vs recovering an onside kick? In my opinion it is way easier to convert a fourth and 15 AND You can’t block a kickoff either…

    It is late in the game (say 1 min left) … You are down 10 points. You score a touchdown …

    You are now down three points and you are given the option to go for it on fourth and 15 with under a minute left (rather than try an onside kick…) The first time that team converts and marches down the field to win or tie a game … the owner whos team lost will be screaming the competition commitee that this was a really stupid idea… Think about the Pats Giants game in the last super bowl… how this option would have changed the outcome of that game… ???

    it is nuts … nuts i tell ya…

  100. Nobody dislikes Goodell more than I do, but people criticizing this idea here seem to be doing it reflexively. There is nothing not to like about it.

    I don’t have the time or the desire to debate every poster here, but all of the arguments raised against this idea in these comments is easily rebutted. A couple of my favorites, though, are that “this isn’t real football” (which is asinine because it actually is real football – punts and/or plays from scrimmage are already part of the game) and that a team could ostensibly keep the ball the whole game under this rule (which they obviously could do under the present rules, but nobody has or would ever try because you can’t recover every onside kick – nor can you convert every 4th & 15).

    If this was the way it had always been done, nobody would criticize. Stupid people are resistant to change, so the reaction isn’t shocking.

  101. I can see modifying the kickoff if there are still too many injuries on kicks (which I have a hard time believing at this point). But starting the game with a punt is ridiculous. Just give receiving teams the ball on the 20, which is where a good potion of them end up anyway.

  102. One of the biggest problems, which is why there are so many injuries and so many concussions this year are due to the new rules on hitting. A lot of it comes from players trying to hit the new way. They d players are getting hurt more by trying to pull up on their hits injuring their legs, backs, and head. They roll their head like suppose to but so does a running back creating more helmet to helmet hits than there was last year. These players have played the same way their whole life, so when you change how they have to hit it actually makes things more dangerous. Players are used to taking normal hits, now they don’t know how to prepare for a hit because the way players hit keeps changing.

  103. I was in the stands when Kevin Everett was injured…I saw him twitch on the ground, the look on the faces of the trainers and doctors surrounding him, the way they turned him over so he could breathe, the ambulance on the field, the way the players looked as that ambulance drove away. He is alive and walking because a bold doctor thew a hail mary with a completely radical untried procedure. The thrill of kickoffs is not worth it. I don’t know if I like the fourth and fifteen idea…I do know one more Kevin Everett will drive me from the game I love.

  104. Replace the kickoff with the would-be receiving team having 1st & 10 on their own 20.

  105. The kickoff has been pretty much eliminated from the game anyway. This idea, at least, will bring returns back as a meaningful play in the game.

    Is there a better chance of converting a 4th and 15 or an onside kick? Teams with weak QB’s/receivers would probably want the onside kick option.

  106. So now Goodell wants to eliminate kickoffs. What’s next? Teams get together and make friendship bracelets and the team with the prettiest bracelets wins. Are you kidding me Goodell?

  107. Let’s just adapt the BCS computer to determine the winner of each game, and then no one would ever get hurt.

  108. Some changes are inherently necessary and good for the game but this isn’t one of them. The changes happening (or being proposed) in NFL football are dramatically changing the game itself. The only motivator is money. Safety is the feel good story associated with the real world goal of cashing in and keeping the cash. The rule changes have been about scoring more points under the guise of safety. More points equates to more interest from casual “fans” who have transitioned from being fans of the game/NFL teams to fans of specific players and specific stats that benefit the fans’ own “fantasy” teams. Those fans meant more money and that is why they were targeted. Now, the guise of safety is less so but the changes are still about money. The money feared potentially lost due to litigious former players (and their lawyers) who are hanging on for one more windfall. The players are to blame for these measures as much or more than the league itself yet the NFLPA has not once been named as a defendant in any of the thousands of lawsuits. The game itself is being ruined by greed–from the league and from the players. It’s demise is inevitable.

  109. So what happens after a team scores?

    If you’re going to replace the kick off then why not shoot it out of a cannon, have the ball all greased up, and the first to control that ball gets the choice of offense or defense. Or maybe the two captains meet at the 50 and play rock, paper scissors…..

  110. Keep the Kickoffs, but reduce the number of players on the field to 9-on-9 or 7-on-7.

    Then you’d see better runbacks and fewer collisions, and probably fewer penalties that make you re-do the Kickoff.

  111. eh…what?!?

    My head hurts just trying to my thoughts around that idea.

    Something about a 4th and 15 from their own 30…and then punting the ball away….WHY?!?

    How about this….if they are soooo concerned about the “kickoff” then just replace it with the “Free Kick”?!? Ever thought of that Godell?!?

  112. Goodell is a disgrace. Another stupid idea from King idiot. This is what happens when you put the lawyers and bean counters in charge. He is intent on ruining football.

  113. Just wrap all the players on kickoffs with huge amounts of foam padding (in team colors, with Nike logos).

    Sure, kickoffs will take several minutes while they stagger downfield, but there will only be low speed collisions, and extra padding!

  114. Better idea – let’s keep kickoffs and just replace the Commissioner. I got this idea from millions of fed-up fans and I’m just floating it out there to see how he reacts.

  115. The Great Roger Goodell Himself Live And In Person will not be satisfied until the NFL becomes one big pillow fight, the two teams representing the Patriots and Giants, of course. Every other team being the league’s version of the Washington Generals.

    Seriously, the wussification of the once-proud NFL is getting out of hand.

  116. And it is a new record as Tom Brady and the Patriots completed their 18th touchdown pass… And, yes, it looks like the offense is taking the field again! All Brady Quinn and the Chiefs offense can do is watch as their team is now losing 126-0 here at the ten minute mark of the third quarter. But at least *they* are watching because all the fans left hours ago.

  117. Goodell, let’s just put all the players in those inflatable sumo suits. I don’t see anyone getting hurt that way. Sure, it’ll lengthen the game a few hours since fallen players will be like turtles on their backs but hey, that’s more TV money and nobody gets hurt!

  118. How about the players just accept the fact that they are going to get hit hard if they play in the NFL???

    Look at boxing – those guys get pummeled and some of them have disabilities after they are done. However, the boxers accept it as part of their sport. Could you imagine if they tried to take head punches out of boxing?

    So, if one group of atheletes can accept the risk in order to make untold amounts of money, why cant another?

  119. Put a maximum weight limit of 180 pounds per man and you will have a reduction of serious injuries.

  120. Welcome to the slippery slope. I’m your host, Roger Goodell…

    Are kickoffs THAT much more dangerous than punts? If there’s any debate whatsoever on that topic, how long until punts would need to be scrapped? And then you’d have to start looking at long pass plays, because guys are running full speed getting hit on those, too.

    There’s a huge difference between making sure players have state-of-the-art medical treatment, the safest helmets and equipment, etc., and publicly proclaiming major parts of your sport are so unsafe they can’t be a part of the game anymore. Goodell is on his way to the day when the entire sport as it is now known will be gone.

  121. My interest level in the NFL has decreased significantly over the past 4 or 5 years. These idiots (owners, Goodell) just can’t leave the game alone and fail to realize that draconian rule changes every single offseason are bad for the game.

    My level of interest in watching neutral NFL games and, more importantly, my willingness to spend money on tickets, gear, etc, is as low as its been in 20 years of being a diehard fan. If (when) this asinine rule change, or any resembling it are implemented, it will be the straw that broke the camel’s back.

    I hate what the league has done to the league and at this point, I pretty much just flat out hate the league.

  122. The game has already become to concerned with things like this. Should this rule go into effect, I would be forced to stop watching football altogether. Worst idea I’ve ever heard.

  123. One potential upside to this idea is that, if teams get a lot more practice going for it on 4th and 15, maybe they’d try to convert more 4th downs elsewhere in the game. I find punts really boring.

  124. Blaming Goodell for all the player safety changes is like blaming the messenger that brought the bad news. This is a result of our litigious society.

  125. They pay you to run the league and that is the best you can come up with! Maybe he needs a concussion test

  126. Im for keeping the kickoff and great defense in the game of football. But if you HAVE to eliminate the kickoff, why not just make it a touchback if the ball goes past the 10 yard line instead of the end zone. Then you could still have squibs and onside kicks.

  127. Once Rog realizes everyone is laughing at him he can point to Greg Schiano and says “It was his genius idea”

  128. 2 things:

    1. The NFLPA wouldn’t go for it. Thats taking away 2 jobs, lick specialist and return specialist.

    2. The most dangerous play in football is not the kickoff. The most dangerous play in football is the forward pass. Its the play where a man stands like a statue, looking downfield, while 300-lb guys try to sandwich him, and where recievers are “defenseless” against DBs trying to dislodge the football from their grasp.

    I bet if someone were to go back and look at every concussion this season, I bet they would find that nearly 75% of them happened on pass plays and not kickoffs. Look we all know the NFL won’t abandon the foward pass. That play is what makes the NFL different from rugby, and its a huge reason the game is as exciting as it is today. I’m just saying that this proposal does nothing but pay lipservice to players’ safety.

  129. Bradwins got it – 200 others are ranting about
    Goodell and missing it. You have to think it through. It’s not wimpy, its weird….but its got some potential.

    1) Its a regular play – NOT like a kick-off with no rush or a free punt after a safety. You snap the ball at your 30 and either run a play to try to reach the 45 and keep the ball or you punt it….on every kick-0ff situation. The defense can blitz, rush the punt, etc. Its a regular 4th down play.

    2) Forget player safety, the key is this would make it more possible for a team down 10-20 points to catch up. Its much easier to make a 4th and 15 than recover an onside kick when people know its coming. You keep making 4th and 15’s and you can catch up quickly – the other team can’t get the ball back.

    3) Finally, ANYbody who really thinks NFL kick-offs are exciting needs a hobby. 98% of the time its a touch-back or there’s a return and two flags. PAT kicks are more exciting.

  130. I used to be a Nascar fan, now I have lost almost all interest in it (starting with the COT “car of tomorrow”, parity, green lap manditory pits etc. No wonder the same 2 races I USED to go to in Delaware that were packed are now 1/2 full of fans. The same thing is slowly starting to happen to me with Goodell’s NFL. Lots of drivers in Nascar die or get seriously injured every year but they know the risks. If you fear for your safety than don’t sign up. Make everyone sign a waiver before you race, play football, box, whatever and then you won’t have lawsuits against you… You knew the risks involved so don’t blame us later. We warned you. Play golf instead, bowl, ping-pong, madden, whatever. Keep real football alive!

  131. OK, so let’s think about this…

    Near the end of the game, let’s say a team is down 2 scores. They manage to sustain a long drive that exhausts the other defense and get a score. Now, normally they kick off (or try an onsides kick) and the other offense takes the field.

    But NOW, the scoring team has a tired defense in front of them and decides to go for it on 4th & 15…so some questions:

    1. If the league is so concerned with “player safety”, how safe is it to play football in a state of extreme exhaustion? If players are that tired, they’re also too tired to adequately protect themselves on each play. Won’t MORE injuries occur in this situation?

    2. While this will have the effect of making the ends of games more exciting (and thus increasing ratings and revenue), what will this do to the competitive balance of the league?

    3. What will Vegas think of this? (Let’s not fool ourselves, Vegas is a major factor in the NFL’s decision making. While it may feel warm & fuzzy to think that the referee lockout was resolved because of that debacle on MNF, it was really Vegas not being able to “bank” on the impartiality of the officiating.)

  132. I think its brilliant…gives teams a real chance of “recovering an onside kick” if the offense was on the field rather than the imposible onside kick

  133. Hey goodell, how about we just play football like we did on the street I grew up on? Two hand touch, unless you’re on the edge of the street where it meets the grass, no kickoff, just throw the ball as far as you can, losers walk, no extra points, every td is 1, team with the most points before dad whistles for dinner wins… You are killing the game I grew up watching, playing and loving… Please stop. Watching Devon Hester return kicks is one of the most exciting things I’ve ever seen in football. Goodell is a joke an needs to be stopped.

  134. how’s this….keep the kickoff, but make it an automatic fair catch (no returns allowed). The receiving team starts from the spot of the faircatch.


    If the ball lands in the endzone or is kicked over the endzone, the ball is placed at the 35 (just as if it were kicked out of bounds).

    This obviously hurst the excitement factor…but it puts more pressure on the kicker. Too long of a kick or too short of a kick = good field position for the receiving team. Exciting…just not as exciting.

  135. Why don’t we just play two-hand touch football? Or maybe hug and fall? Or maybe let’s just all have a tea party at 50 yard line and winner is the team that finishes the tea. Really Roger? Really? I can stomach the rule changes on hits. But when you start changing the GAME OF FOOTBALL it’s going way too far.

  136. this is just stupid why take one of the exiting parts of the game out. u can watch your team try get an awesome run back to get the team pumped and the crowd screaming set the atmosphere of the game stuff like that

  137. Kickoffs are exciting? Only if you are excited by seeing a bunch of touchbacks…
    And any team that seriously drafts/acquires players primarily for kickoffs needs to fire their GM.

    Here is how the kickoff needs to be changed:
    1. You kick the ball out of the endzone, it is a touchback and two points for the receiving team.
    2. Any kneeldown or fair catch by the receiving team gives two points to the kicking team.
    3. If the league is still worried about injuries, the kicking team has to line up on the line of scrimage instead of 5 yards behind.

  138. What happens when someone (I’m looking at Belichick) realizes that going for it succeeds 38% and you hold the opponent to a FG 48% so going for it makes sense. I think this needs to be thought out.

  139. If they are going to replace the kickoff (which they should NOT) They should do like the XFL did at the beginning of their games. 2 Fastest guys on each team race to the ball,whoever gets it first gets the ball at the 20 yard line

  140. Can you say: stu-pid? Look in the dictionary and you’ll Goodell’s pic. This idea will be the end of the game if you do it. In the off-season, you should do one exhibition game with this rule and see just how stupid it is. Then shelve it forever.

  141. The NFL always claims it doesn’t want to mess with tradition, that they are a sport steep in tradition, this sure would change that philosophy, Goodell needs to go, his narcissism is only out weighed by his ego.

  142. my initial response is 4th and 15 is MORE difficult than recovering an onside kick, what is the research on this. either way this should be a vote by players only and every 5 years at that.

  143. Dear NFL,
    As a devoted fan of the NFL and owner of the Green Bay Packers ☺ I wanted to mention a possible rule change and help eliminate kick-offs from our great game.

    After a team scores a touchdown, they would continue to have the option of kicking or running the ball over the goal line for one or two points. The change that would make the game safer would occur on the ensuing kick where the team that scored would free kick from their own 40. If the ball should travel through the uprights that team would be awarded one additional point and team B would put the ball in play from the 20 yard line. If the attempt is no good, team B would get the ball 1st and 10 at their own 35 yard line.

  144. Fix the helmets, Roger…

    …and stop screwing with the game !

    The ProCap has been used and the nfl found out, it worked !

    Yet Roger Goodell refuses to mandate the use of the ProCap in the NFL.

    The ProCap is a layer of foam, that is fitted over the outside of existing helmets. It creates a shock absorbing layer on the “outside” of the helmet and was used for years by the Bills, Mark Kelso and the 49ers, Steve Wallace in the 1980s.

    Both players extended their careers by years…careers that had been threatened by frequent concussions.

    The very first player to use cushioning on the outside of his helmet, in the modern era, was Hall of Fame LB, Willie Lanier, back in 1967.

    Lanier suffered a life threatening concussion in his rookie season. A KC Chiefs trainer got the idea of fitting Lanier’s helmet with a wide strip of foam padding on the outside of his helmet…and it worked !

    Lanier went on to play 11 seasons with that helmet and became known as “Mr Contact”.

    Ask Roger Goodell why he won’t mandate the use of padding on the outside of existing helmets, to cut down and virtually eliminate concussions in the NFL ?

    It is that easy … really !

    Information on the ProCap can be found by typing it into your search engine.

  145. As much as that post sounds like a blatant commercial, I agree.. I keep bringing up Mark Kelso and his helmet every time someone talks about concussions in football. Much like the move from leather helmets to the hard shell plastic helmets we see today, the league has to be the driver and make the move to a helmet that is this different but when/if they do, everyone will look back and ask why the hell it took so long to do this.. Injuries will always happen but this has to be the next evolution in football. The only question I’ve had is whether or not the softer outer padding has a tendency to grab the turf more and risk increasing neck injuries. The Kickoff issue can be solved but I’m a fan of leaving it alone. It’s part of the game and everyone has to understand that there is risk in playing football. You will get hurt, no question.. If that scares you, maybe you shouldn’t play. There are a million guys who will fill the rosters out and be thrilled to take the extraordinary pay that comes with the risk of injury. There are already millions of people in this country who accept the risk of death or major injury as part of the job they do and I can promise you they aren’t making more than $60K for it much less 2 or 3 million.. My suggestion, if the kickoff has to change, just treat it as a free kick with both teams in standard off/def formations. Way less injuries but still the same spirit of a kickoff.. I don’t know how you replace the onside kick scenario with that though. Giving the offense a chance to go for it a first down would be questionable with the offense heavy rules in place now, not to mention as someone else said what happens with pass interference calls etc.. its a bag of worms to say the least.

  146. Quit changing the fricking game, it was fine before lawyers got involved. I am tired of this.

  147. The people suggesting an XFL-style “kickoff” must be forgetting that Hassan Shamsid-Deen (Orlando’s player) separated his shoulder on the very first scramble in the XFL’s history.

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