Bill Belichick points out concussions happen on touchbacks, too

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The NFL moved the spot following a touchback to the 25-yard line this year, thinking that more kickoff returners will keep the ball in the end zone, and fewer returns will mean fewer injuries. Patriots coach Bill Belichick doesn’t buy it.

Belichick pointed out that the coverage players running full-speed down the field don’t know whether the returner is going to take it out of the end zone or not, and the blockers running into those coverage players don’t know, either. That means there are still plenty of hits that can result in injuries, even on touchbacks.

One such hit took place last week, when Denver’s Kayvon Webster suffered a season-ending concussion in a collision with Kansas City’s Terrance Smith on a kickoff that stayed in the end zone.

“I’d say last week was a good example, though, of some of the different proponents of ‘we want more touchbacks,'” Belichick said. “We saw a pretty big concussed play with a touchback. Part of the touchback is, ‘Well, we think it’s a touchback so everybody’s not playing the same speed. Because we think it’s a touchback, it’s going to be a no play.’ But then, as a coverage team, you don’t know for sure the guy isn’t coming out or not so you’re playing it at full speed. So some of the concussions and some of the injuries look to me like they come on touchbacks. If we want more touchbacks, is that really solving the problem here as it’s been presented by the Competition Committee? You know how I feel about it. We’ll see how smart some of that has really been to address the problems that we think are being addressed.”

Belichick said football is already a great sport and doesn’t need people constantly tinkering with the rules.

“It seems like, football, we got a pretty good game here,” Belichick said. “Been that way for a long time. Seems like the kicking game has been a great part of our game. But I guess we have a lot of people who feel like the game needs to be changed.”

It wouldn’t be surprising to see the NFL make still more changes to kickoffs this offseason. And Belichick won’t be happy with it.

92 responses to “Bill Belichick points out concussions happen on touchbacks, too

  1. “It seems like, football, we got a pretty good game here, been that way for a long time. Seems like the kicking game has been a great part of our game. But I guess we have a lot of people who feel like the game needs to be changed.”

    Love him or hate him, you can’t deny he is right about the constant changes. When there was discussion of removing the PAT his suggestion of moving it back instead not only saved it but between the blocks, returns and misses gave us more exciting plays. Unfortunately the clowns at the league office are determined to fix what isn’t broken. He probably didn’t do himself any favors with the crooked king saying what we all think though

  2. Belichick speaks the truth, however, one might use his argument against something like seatbelts, for instance. Well, there are a lot of crashes that occur where someone was wearing a seatbelt and still got hurt, so maybe they aren’t really worth bothering with.

  3. I agree it is called FOOTball, not touchback ball. The PR experts and over-officious tinkering is killing the experience for the fan. Want some ideas to improve the game.

    1. Have at least one full-time official who is in charge at each game.
    2. Get your head where it should be and do replay like college.
    3. Quit trying to artificially promote scoring. What the hell is illegal contact? Doesn’t it happen on every play? get rid of that rule that is enforced at the strangest time and allow receivers to set picks to get open. Picks are used in other sports and are used and disguised in today’s NFL.

  4. .
    The Webster / Smith collision was the textbook example of what Belichick was referencing. It was showcased on a nationally televised game. Webster believed (correctly) that the play would result in a touchback. Smith has no other choice to believe it was going to be returned. The ensuing meeting was one sided.
    .

  5. Well, who were the actual football coaching geniuses on the competition committee that made the change: Jeff Fisher and Marvin Lewis. Nuff said.

  6. vikingsvoice says:
    Dec 31, 2016 9:13 AM
    Belichick speaks the truth, however, one might use his argument against something like seatbelts, for instance. Well, there are a lot of crashes that occur where someone was wearing a seatbelt and still got hurt, so maybe they aren’t really worth bothering with.
    ——————
    I don’t think the analogy applies. There is no question that seat belts reduce injuries and save lives. If there was a way to eliminate concussions, then Belichick would say it’s a good idea. But since concussions do happen on touchbacks, then reducing touchbacks doesn’t accomplish the goal. Belichick is saying: don’t change the rules to accomplish a goal unless it it actually does accomplish the goal.

  7. I realize putting him on the rules committee would be like leaving the fox to guard the henhouse, and make Goodell break out in hives, but he would be a good fit there.

  8. “one might use his argument against something like seatbelts, for instance. Well, there are a lot of crashes that occur where someone was wearing a seatbelt and still got hurt, so maybe they aren’t really worth bothering with.”

    Absolutely horrible analogy that has no value as a comparison.

    Yes, injuries can still occur with seatbelts, but you don’t have people being ejected through the windshield and getting their brains destroyed so they spend years as a vegetable before dying on life support.

    I come from the generation before seatbelt laws when they were optional. There were whole buildings full of people that were nothing but vegetables unable to take care of themselves, communicate or likely even know what was going on around them.

    The value of seatbelts is clear whereas the value of more touchbacks is not. And in fact by making the games less exciting has a negative value while not protecting the players any more than they already were.

  9. Belichick genuinely loves the game of football and wants the best for every team, every player.

    Goodell only cares about making money for the owners and himself.

    Happy New Years everyone!

  10. The NFL still has not come up with a helmet that protected the players better than the “PRO CAP”, used by several players, back in the 80s.

    At some point someone should be asking what the NFL’s priorities are…

    …is the NFL’s top priority a helmet that looks good and does protect the players “some”..?

    …OR is the NFL’s top priority to protect the players with the product that works the best, but might not be so “pretty”..?

    At this point, nothing the NFL has tried has given an acceptable level of protection from the incidents of concussions.

    The ProCap worked better than anything the NFL has tried.

    At some point, common sense should prevail..you can only put so much padding on the inside of a rock-hard plastic helmet. If we want better protection, you have to look at the outside of the helmet and add padding there to see if it works.

    The NFL already knows the answer, but common sense does not rule within NFL Headquarters.

    TEST IT, AGAIN…add more padding to the outside, kind of like the ProCap…then record the results.

  11. 72DolphinsStillUnmatched says:
    Dec 31, 2016 10:07 AM
    Belicheat is right, probably thought about this while taking a break from spying on opponents. 🙂

    ———
    Do you think Shula is still mad that he was only able to capture the same number of SB rings as Trent Dilfer whilst BB has already obtained six?

  12. If the competition committe really wanted to know, it wouldn’t be difficult to analyze the % of touchbacks on kick-offs that result in a concussion for returns that do.

    Pointing out one anecdotal occurrence of anything isn’t very meaningful.

  13. 72DolphinsStillUnmatched says:
    Dec 31, 2016 10:07 AM
    Belicheat is right, probably thought about this while taking a break from spying on opponents. 🙂
    ////////////////////////

    How sad that you constantly feel the need to bash the most knowledgeable person in the NFL. Goodell is a complete idiot compared to Belichick.

  14. He may be a sour puss with reporters in his face asking questions they know he cannot in his mind answer and won’t but give this guy the respect he deserves, he doesn’t look for praise and fame, but without doubt he is one of the game’s all time gurus. The guy in reality is one of the most interesting to listen to when he is talking about the game and how it’s played. One of the greatest head coaches and defensive coaches in the history of the NFL He now owns 6 Superbowl Rings, including the 2 he won as a d. coordinator on the Giants, and in this age of free agency that is unbelievable!

  15. He may be a sour puss with reporters in his face asking questions they know he cannot in his mind answer and won’t but give this guy the respect he deserves, he doesn’t look for praise and fame, but without doubt he is one of the game’s all time greats. The guy in reality is one of the most interesting to listen to when he is talking about the game and how it’s played. One of the greatest head coaches and defensive coaches in the history of the NFL He now owns 6 Superbowl Rings, including the 2 he won as a d. coordinator on the Giants, and in this age of free agency that is unbelievable!

  16. Get rid of the Comp Committee. Just because the Comp Committee exists, they feel they have to validate their existence by changing things. Abolish it and address issues on an as needed basis. Form a committee by people with expertise in the area of the issue, solve it then disband it.

  17. maybe when godell finally goes the new commissioner will appoint Bill to the competition committee. please don’t tell me he is a cheater, first that is BS, second they already had one of the biggest cheaters in football on the CC, Shula.

  18. chippys lost binky says:

    Love him or hate him, you can’t deny he is right about the constant changes. When there was discussion of removing the PAT his suggestion of moving it back instead not only saved it but between the blocks, returns and misses gave us more exciting plays. Unfortunately the clowns at the league office are determined to fix what isn’t broken. He probably didn’t do himself any favors with the crooked king saying what we all think though
    ________________________________________

    I believe he was the guy who said just remove that PAT. He said it was pointless. He may have alternately suggested moving it back, or the 2 point deal, but I’m positive his take was get rid of it and have a TD be 7 points. Speeding up the game was part of that.

  19. “don’t question him”

    Yeah.

    I particularly enjoyed his public, active support and endorsement of a genuine, bona fide horse’s ass… that, too, should not be questioned.

    give me a break

  20. I do not remember any reports showing the kickoff-related concussions before and after the new rule. Until that result is reviewed, neither BB nor any other individual should comment pro or con. To those who think all decisions should be based on fan entertainment—-get lost.

  21. “but I’m positive his take was get rid of it and have a TD be 7 points”

    Belichick never said that you’re dreaming.

  22. We need to take the rules of football away from the NFL. They can’t continue to change a sport played by athletes of all ages and skill levels. It’s not just a pro game. It’s incredibly disrespectful and it will ruin the game. More care needs to be taken and it should be a committee made up of a lot more than just NFL folks.

  23. As usual, the smartest person in the room.

    111 7
    Report comment

    Of course he is when it’s full of the bleating sheep. I am waiting for Grumpy Bill to tell the NFL to get off his lawn. His act is getting very stale and predictable. Quit Bill if you hate it so much the sheep will miss you but few others will.

  24. 72DolphinsStillUnmatched says:
    Dec 31, 2016 10:07 AM

    Belicheat is right, probably thought about this while taking a break from spying on opponents. 🙂
    ——————————–

    Get a life Don, you miserable, bitter old son of a bigbroncomammary.

  25. When BB speaks about things like this, he is usually spot on. And unfortunately the league will probably do just the opposite of anything BB suggests. It must kill those in power that Belichick is smarter than all of them put together!!!

  26. davedsone says:
    Dec 31, 2016 10:33 AM
    I believe he was the guy who said just remove that PAT. He said it was pointless. He may have alternately suggested moving it back, or the 2 point deal, but I’m positive his take was get rid of it and have a TD be 7 points. Speeding up the game was part of that
    +++++++++++++++++++

    Belichicks words at the time:

    “I would be in favor of not seeing it be an over 99 percent conversion rate, it’s virtually automatic. That’s just not the way the extra point was put into the game. It was an extra point that you actually had to execute and it was executed by players who were not specialists, they were position players. It was a lot harder for them to do. The Gino Cappellettis of the world and so forth and they were very good. It’s not like it is now where it’s well over 99 percent. I don’t think that’s really a very exciting play because it’s so automatic.”

  27. Man, is he on another level. Since 2000, he has blessed Patriot nation with his football acumen and we have reaped the benefits. Thank God we aren’t phin fans. They haven’t had a playoff win since 2000, ya know. I almost feel bad for them. But it’s hard to relate with all this winning. Oh well, on to another super bowl, I’m sure. Am I right or am I right? Ya know it. That’s why you all are here. Thanks and have a super 2017. You know Patriot nation will.

  28. Goodell will simply pooh pooh what Belichick says, but next week when Harbaugh says exactly the same thing, Goodell will seriously look into it.

    Fire Goodell!

  29. “72DolphinsStillUnmatched”

    The sad fact that you ignore the massive cheating by Shula yet celebrate his sole accomplishment with your screenname is pathetic.

    Shula cheated as the modern NFL was forming in the merger. He cheated by signing a contract with the Fins while he was still under one with Baltimore and Baltimore got Miami’s first round pick that year as a result. The original NFL “scandal”

    The long list of Shula’s “cheats” after that is well documented, as is the cheating by more current Miami coaches and players.

    That’s called a double standard by the way and invalidates anything you have to whine about the Pats.

  30. Bill certainly has a lot of opinions he feels like sharing this year. Sadly, his love letter to Donald has taken a huge hit on his credibility and authority. Now, when he says something, it comes off as the person with dementia piping up again. Does he even have the slightest idea what he’s talking about anymore? Put all the signs together and it doesn’t paint a pretty picture of where all of this is headed. What’s next? Will he tell us that footballs have pointy ends so they don’t get mixed up with basketballs?

  31. Quit Bill if you hate it so much the sheep will miss you but few others will.
    +++++++++++++++++++

    Hate it? Fans of the game would count themselves blessed if the owners and their league office lackeys loved the game the way Belichick does. Certainly the fans of the teams in the pathetic AFC North won’t miss Belichick and Brady when they are on to Canton. Their .828 combined winning % against Baltimore and the 3 cupcakes that make up the rest of that division must be a constant source of venom that spawns all sorts of irrational wishful thinking for those poor tortured souls.

  32. Someday they will name a trophy/award after this guy.

    Of course they will and it will be the Cheaters Award and the trophy will be a big spittoon with his smiling face on it…..can’t wait. The trophy will have sheep surrounding Bills portrait.

  33. I know what trophy droolboy deserves, but they already give it to the last pick in the draft. Happy New Year.

  34. If NE is fortunate enough to secure #5 this year or anytime in BB/TB’s tenure, the infant Trolls, who post these idiotic, childish comments, heads will explode.

    Why anyone still acknowledges them is beyond me.

    The best thing you could do is ignore them completely, as they and their comments are 100% inconsequential and have absolutely NO IMPACT on the last NFL Dynasty,

    The NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS.

  35. Every time this comes up, many of us ask for real, tangible statistics on the issue. Neither the NFL nor any investigative journalists have bothered finding any. Why should fans support or oppose a rule that is being implemented for phantom reasons? The league needs to show us why and how a rule will improve things. If they don’t, they’re just messing with us for no good reason.

  36. Here is a suggestion, and I think that with all of these “safety first” rules that are being instituted it could happen.

    Let’s take 22 chairs, line one set of 11 at the 40 yard line of a field and the other 11 at the opposite 40 yard line. Sit players from each team in one row and give them a Playstation controller!! Put Madden (whatever year) on and let them play on the jumbotron in the stadium! Each player controls his own player on the TV.

    There you go!! No concussions, no injuries, well maybe Carpal Tunnel syndrome, and everyone is happy. OH! No fans either!!

    Football is a game of collisions. It’s a game where men are going to get hurt. No one likes that, but that is “the nature of the beast”. If you try to take that out, you don’t have the same “beast”. And, it is not nearly as popular as it once was, nor entertaining.

  37. It’s pretty ridiculous that Roger gets paid something like 6 or 7 times as much money than BB and all he does is ruin the game in the process. Talk about backwards.

  38. If a reporter asks BB an intelligent question he’ll give an intelligent answer. He loves talking about the game and I doubt anyone is more knowledgeable about it.

    One other thing is I have never heard him bad mouth anyone in the league, especially another coach, like Tomlin and Harbawl have with him, suggesting cheating on his part. He didn’t even bad mouth them after they did so, b/c he knows being an NFL coach is a tough job.

  39. it really sickens me that the term “goat” is used for people in sports today. the people saying it aren’t old enough nor motivated enough to do an accurate comparison. I especially find it humorous when Pat fans, say bellichek is the smartest coach ever. he isn’t even close. as several commenters have mentioned already he states the obvious. he hasn’t come up with a “new” scheme or offense or anything else. so where is this great smart coaching? and then all we have to say is remember Cleveland. nuf said

  40. seems to me eliminating the wedge has been the best thing to prevent injuries; maybe BB is right about the touchbacks; he did say he would like to see the touchback data eventually.

    also if he has a gripe about kickoffs…read the rule book, billy.

  41. He’s making a simple mistake. Yes, concussions can still happen but they’re much less likely to happen.

    It is like the seat belt argument.

    Some people still die even wearing seat belts. So what? Overall there are many less deaths.

  42. There really can’t be any stats for comparison, because there were no concussion protocols, and they were largely ignored or went undiagnosed until a couple of yrs ago. But, you can’t say concussions are much less likely to happen. That, IMO, is BB’s point. The players have to play it the same way, despite the rule change. As opposed to the extra point change, which BB spearheaded. That’s a rule change that does make a difference. The kick is less of a gimme and more teams are going for 2, which is an exiting play.

  43. It seems some people want change if things don’t work their way. Keep doing it and we won’t recognize the sport anymore.
    BB knows what he is talking about. Probably the only one in the league who knows what football is all about.

  44. what i know about touchback rule is that in theory it is supposed to work because the returner will have less incentive to not return the kick because of the added yardage, however, the issue occurs when the kicking team realizes it is more incentivized to kick it short and keep them from reaching the 25–as do the patriots and other teams in the nfl, what is the problem? why is this a topic? when the biggest culprit this year has been the extra points and the dubious execution rates that have tumbled and may have resulted in more negative play than expected.

  45. any gripes billiam may have about current kickoff rules can be addressed by reading the rule book; he would need a hard copy since he can’t work a tablet.

  46. I get his point, but when something costs the league over a billion dollars, you have to take notice as well, it can’t just be ignored. To clear the NFL of any negligence, would also likely come with less rights all workers have in the country after the law changes.

  47. 72DolphinsStillUnmatched says:
    Dec 31, 2016 10:07 AM
    Belicheat is right, probably thought about this while taking a break from spying on opponents. 🙂
    ================================
    He had to break from laughing so hard after watching your guys. You know how hard it is to get him to even smile?

  48. It seems to me 75 comments about BB stating the obvious shows you how unoriginal the Patriot fans are. They post what Bill says like it was etched in stone tablets Bill brought down from the White Mountains. I think flock of sheep some help.

  49. BB has 50 IQ points on the Commissioner and double that when it comes to football IQ.

    If the other owners want to hurt the Pats and make the NFL better they should fire Roger and make BB the Commissioner

  50. 72DolphinsStillUnmatched says:
    Dec 31, 2016 10:07 AM

    Belicheat is right, probably thought about this while taking a break from spying on opponents.

    —————————————————————–

    April 13, 1970 – The NFL Commissioner punished the Dolphins cheating by making the Dolphins forfeit a 1st round draft pick. This punishment was a result of The Dolphins being caught tampering when they hired Don Shula. As a direct result of this cheating the Dolphins were able to “earn” a perfect season in 1972 and “win” the Superbowl on January 14, 1973. The bad karma for this example of the Dolphins cheating has resulted in the Dolphins never “winning” another Superbowl.

  51. You Pats fans are gonna be in big trouble when Anthony Whatshisface turns the Bills around. Or when the Jets get rid of the malcontents or the Dolphins win a playoff game. Well……maybe not

  52. Nice only having an annual 10 game schedule because the rest of your division is a dumpster fire isn’t it.

    Greatest coach and Greatest QB has one SB win in 10 years and after it was gifted to them by a faulty play call at the 1 yard line. Something fishy about that kind of “greatness.”

  53. skawh says:
    Dec 31, 2016 5:49 PM

    after it was gifted to them by a faulty play call at the 1 yard line.

    ————————————————————-
    Nice try!
    Belichicks greatness is exactly what led Pete Carroll to try to out think the GOAT by calling a pass play. Carroll didn’t anticipate that the GOAT would have a 3rd string cornerback prepared and ready to handle that specific play. Besides the Patriots would have stuffed a run play in the backfield for a loss.

  54. 72DolphinsStillUnmatched says:
    Dec 31, 2016 10:07 AM
    Belicheat is right, probably thought about this while taking a break from spying on opponents. 🙂
    _________________________________________
    Is that going to be your excuse when you get blown out tomorrow? Is that why the Pats have won the AFC East 8 years in a row? When you lose, try to lose with dignity. That’s what Belichick does when his team loses. He gives credit to the other team. If you did that, you wouldn’t come off as such a bitter fool.

  55. bannedfromchoirpractice says:
    Dec 31, 2016 11:18 AM
    Bill certainly has a lot of opinions he feels like sharing this year. Sadly, his love letter to Donald has taken a huge hit on his credibility and authority. Now, when he says something, it comes off as the person with dementia piping up again. Does he even have the slightest idea what he’s talking about anymore?
    _________________________________________
    I figured you were a Hillary follower. That explains your total lack of objectivity on anything you don’t agree with.

    And that’s “President Elect Trump” by the way.

  56. skawh says:
    Dec 31, 2016 5:49 PM
    Nice only having an annual 10 game schedule because the rest of your division is a dumpster fire isn’t it.
    ===================

    Says the 12 whose team plays in the weakest division in football. Not just this year but over the last decade. You should stick to the Belichick is a racist for having white receivers story, at least that’s funny.

    Fun fact: The NFCW was won by a team with a losing record. That team was Seattle.

    Fun fact 2: For the 4th year in a row NE has lost as many games in 6 to the division as it has in 10 to the rest of the league.

    Happy New Year little 12. Stay mad little bro, it entertains us.

  57. Even I am embarrassed by Ty Law’s picks. Truly does not speak for NE fans. I am also embarrassed by our bending of the rules. I hope we can go a few years without another infraction. It really hurts our legacy. I’m afraid it will continue until the Krafts or BB are gone. It is fun to win, though. Go Pats!!!!!!!!!!

  58. tbisgod says:
    Dec 31, 2016 6:28 PM

    Even I am embarrassed by Ty Law’s picks. Truly does not speak for NE fans. I am also embarrassed by our bending of the rules. I hope we can go a few years without another infraction. It really hurts our legacy. I’m afraid it will continue until the Krafts or BB are gone. It is fun to win, though. Go Pats!!!!!!!!!!
    ——————————————————–

    Embarrassed? You just paid him the highest compliment by opening another email account to pretend you are something you are not.

  59. People are so obsessed with Belichick’s press conference behavior, but many are missing the point. He behaves that way as a streategy to ensure he is always doing what is best for the team. It doesn’t help him to praise one player and put down another. It doesn’t help him to talk about the QB position when Brady is out like there is some kind of controversy. It doesn’t help him to talk about last week’s game or some other thing that he can’t do anything to change. He acts exactly how he wants the team to act. Team first and do your own job. That’s it. So many other coaches are happy to yak it up to the media, but it doesn’t contribute to winning.

  60. 1. Let’s talk about division strength

    Bill. 200-71 with the Pats

    In division 74-27 wp.732

    Out of division 126-44 wp .741

    I have not gone back and adjusted to the prior alignment but do not believe there is a significant impact

    Can we put to rest the myth of the AFCE being the reason for the continued excellence and just acknowledge they have sustained it against any competition?

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