Pereira calls proposed elimination of kickoffs “ridiculous”


Plenty of people have objected to the NFL’s apparent intent to eliminate or further minimize the kickoff.  Count former NFL V.P. of officiating Mike Pereira among them.

Pereira, who now serves as the FOX rules analyst, calls the possible extinction of the kickoff “ridiculous” in a column at

The comment applies not only to the potential substitute (i.e., placement of the ball at the 30, with the team that would be kicking the ball facing fourth down and 15), but also to the concept of getting rid of the kickoff generally.

“After sitting through 10 years’ worth of competition committee meetings, I think they will look at this proposal, roll their eyes, and move on to the next subject within minutes,” Pereira said.

We’re not so sure.  The league has been dropping hints about giving the kickoff the boot for a while, with Giants co-owner John Mara saying earlier this year that the league is evolving toward the disappearance of the play.  The league office has made clear its intention to reduce if not eradicate the hazards that come from kickoffs.

Pereira’s primary point is that the play remains exciting, as demonstrated by the fact that Mara’s team generated 227 kickoff-return yards from David Wilson, a rookie running back who has spent most of the year trying to find his way out of the doghouse.  (The Saints, in contrast, would surely vote to eliminate the kickoff, retroactive to Sunday.)

But the proposal fashioned by Bucs coach Greg Schiano would be exciting, too, replacing punt returns, which are hardly boring and which rarely would result in touchbacks, unlike kickoffs from the 35.  Throw in the fact that the onside kick would be replaced with a play from scrimmage that could allow the team who scored to keep the ball by gaining 15 yards, and the excitement remains, if not intensifies.

The reality is that the only way to get rid of the high-speed collisions that sometimes fracture necks and induce paralysis is to get rid of the kickoff, or further revise it so that players can’t get up to top speed as they run toward each other like a long-separated couple meeting in a meadow.

The league seems to be intent on doing it.  And the strongest message in that regard would come from Mara reiterating his beliefs on the kickoff the day after his franchise reaped tremendous benefits from it.

18 responses to “Pereira calls proposed elimination of kickoffs “ridiculous”

  1. Is it just me or does it seem as if this guy has an axe to grind with the commish? I’m in no way a fan of Goodell but it seems like the former head of officials always has something to say about new rule proposals and rarely anything positive. Have a hunch him and Roger had a falling out when he stepped down.

  2. Football is the last area in the US where men can just be men with no apologies. Now they’re slowly taking it away. Eventually teams will just meet on Sunday’s and simulate football through holograms or video games and everyone will get Lombardi’s at the end of the year so nobody’s feelings are hurt

  3. I like Mike. If they feel the need to get rid of kickoffs find another way. Does ANYONE really believe that if Manning, Brady, Rogers, etc. are coming from behind late in the 4th Q that their chance of converting 4th and 15 is the same as their team’s likelihood of recovering an onside kick that the other team knows is coming? 4th and 30 maybe. But as stated, this idea is a ridiculous assault on the game.

  4. Pereira is 100% right….abolishing the kickoff is ludicrous. Let’s see what happens next season when players have to, you know, actually wear knee, thigh, and hip pads as they are supposed to. That will slow them down quite a bit on kickoffs.

    Goodell is way more interested in being an emperor than a commissioner. His arrogance is laughable. There is no way 24 out of 32 owners will approve this “no-kickoff” nonsense. Apparently he hasn’t yet learned his lesson from his humiliation and failings in the Saints bounty case.

  5. Here’s hoping that Pereira is right about this matter about eliminating kickoffs will get summarily dismissed.

    The NFL without kickoffs would be a bit like the NHL banning face-offs, the NBA outlawing shot-blocking and MLB eliminating base-stealing.

    Kickoffs are part of the fabric, history and tradition of the game. Let’s not radically mess with kickoffs, and certainly not take them out of the game.

  6. The only thing this proposal does is demonstrate an inability to use your mind to solve a problem. Yeah let’s panic and just start destoying things instead of thinking.

  7. Not only that but if we just have to panic and eliminate the kickoff, well then just have the team winning the toss decide if they want it at the 20, or if they want to go on defense. Baseball just starts with the first pitch, no opening play. Just do that then, have the coin toss then just start the game and have the first play at the 20.

  8. For anybody who watched the entirety of the Bears-Seahawks game that went into O.T, you saw a Bears defense that was absolutely gassed after a 12 play, 97 yard drive put Seattle ahead by three points. Literally seconds later, Chicago managed to tie the game, Seattle won the toss, came on the field on offense and rolled over a D that still hadn’t gathered itself.

    It’s not just that Manning, Rodgers, Brady or Brees could walk out on the field with a solid chance at 4th and 15 anywhere, anytime…it’s literally seconds after the opponent allowed points to that quarterback on the last drive!

    Suppose that the Bears were up 10 instead of 4 in that Seattle game, immediately after Chicago gave up that 12 play TD drive, they then had to defende against 4th and 15. Yet another structural discrimination against defenses

  9. A good compromise for safety and fans would be to kickoff at the start of the game and the second half, but use the new rule for after scores.

  10. They say the percentages of injury are much greater for the kickoff than all other plays lumped together, but I wonder what the numbers are on the punt/punt return. That’s the number that they should look at, rather than the average of all other plays, because you are effectively replacing the kickoff with a punt. You are not replacing the kickoff with on average all other plays. I would bet the punt is a higher injury percentage play, also.

  11. Everyone thinks this is Goodell. This isn’t, this is the owners protecting their investments. This is the former players suing for ridiculous reasons.

    The former players, hey I am damaged from my years of running and hitting people. It is the NFL’s fault because they didn’t tell me I could get hurt, so I want millions.

    The owners aren’t going to go for that. They would rather see parts of the game erode so that they can get as much as they can while they can.

    Goodell is just a mouth piece, he gets paid alot of money to take the blame that the owners don’t want to.

  12. Periera is irrelevant to the conversation. His opinion is just that, his one opinion, singular. Who really cares what he thinks, he doesn’t play and it’s not his career on the line. Don’t care what he has to say about it.

  13. Considering yesterday, I two separate clean shots – shoulder to abdomen – get flagged as ‘defenseless receiver’ bologna, I’d say this league is already halfway there in alienating the real diehards like me and many others.

  14. Giving a team a chance to make a 4th and 15 rather than an onside kick is pretty silly….reminds me of those all star games where they used to let a team get take the ball back if they were down more than 2 scores…..

    ….kickoffs in general and the onside kick in particular are dangerous plays….but it’s not a nice game, and admit it or not, that’s why we watch….

  15. I guess punt returns will be the next thing to go, because those returners are hung out to dry compared to kick returners. And while we’re at it, lets eliminate all passes over the middle. Oh yeah, just stop hitting the QB too. Come to think of it, if we just got rid of defensive players all together we could just watch the offenses play against tackling dummies.

  16. the problem is people are getting head and neck injuries. that is a real serious problem. no doubt and no argument from me there.

    but the solution doesnt have to be to just eliminate the play does it?

    arent we as a species maybe a little more creative and innovative than THAT?

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