Mark Murphy: Kickoffs face elimination if the play doesn’t get safer

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Kickoffs must get safer or else. The “or else,” according to Packers president Mark Murphy, is the competition committee’s recommendation to eliminate the play.

Owners voted this week to make the touchback rule permanent, with a touchback putting the ball at the 25-yard line, but that has done little to nothing to mitigate the safety risk.

“We’ve reduced the number of returns,” Murphy said, via Kevin Seifert of ESPN, “but we haven’t really done anything to make the play safer.”

Murphy, a member of the competition committee, said the league will call on special teams coordinators and head coaches “in the next few weeks.” The group will receive a clear edict: “If you don’t make changes to make it safer, we’re going to do away with it. It’s that serious. It’s by far the most dangerous play in the game.”

Murphy said even touchbacks have proved a concussion risk.

“Even though there’s no return, [the committee is] looking at what kind of things you can do to make sure people were aware that there’s not even a return,” Murphy said. “You see this, too: One player lets up, the player covering lets up, and one of the blockers comes over and, you know. That creates problems when you’ve got one player going half speed and the other one full speed.”

30 responses to “Mark Murphy: Kickoffs face elimination if the play doesn’t get safer

  1. Why don’t they just put little flags on the players on special teams and make THAT portion flag football?

  2. The game that we grew up watching will cease to exist in a few years. I understand the desire to reduce concussions, but they will never be eliminated, unless you go to two-hand touch. The attraction to the game is the violent collisions, just like NASCAR. The NFL is losing touch with their “sizzle”

  3. Here is an idea…when a team kicks a touch back, the ball is placed on the 15. When the NFL made a touch back places the ball on the 25, they encouraged teams to find ways to make kick off returns happen.

  4. Big mistake! The kickoff is one of the most potentially exciting plays in football! Think of all the great returns over the years!

  5. I would like to see results of the data that show kickoffs are the most dangerous plays such as how many injuries, what percent of kicks and what types of injuries. Strictly from my perspective which also isn’t backed by data it seems the most injuries occur when receivers go over the middle and are hit.

  6. Just eliminate all players and have drones replace them! No more of the NFL’s moteill go to concussion law suits.

  7. I don’t think that the kickoff is absolutely essential to the game. There is no reason why the game wouldn’t survive simply placing the ball on the 25 yard line to start every drive. It will hurt the minimal player who is on the roster because of special teams. How about punts? Isn’t that play dangerous? There ARE alternatives however, to killing the kickoff. They could decrease the distance between the kicking and receiving teams to limit the speed of the head-on collision, but I wouldn’t cry over losing kickoffs.

  8. Again, say goodbye to pro football as you know it.

    It’s become about assets, lawyers and liability. The NFL is in more trouble than they realize.

  9. Safety?! Good lord…like anyone GAF including the players. If we wanted safety we’d be paying $200 a ticket to go watch my 6-year-old nephew’s flag league.

  10. Line the kicker up at their own 30. The cover men all line up on the opponent’s 40 with the blockers at the 35. The returner is back at the 10. The ball must be kicked past the receiving team’s 20 yard line. Blow the whistle and kick. No more collisions after sprinting 40 yards down field but still a chance at a return. You can still attempt an onside kick but you would line up as you do today.

    Something like that.

  11. At best we will see Pro Bowl level of play soon, you know, wrap the ball carrier in your arms and the play is dead. More likely ball carriers will be wearing flags and QBs will be completely untouchable. I can see it happening.

  12. He’s just pushing that notion because the Packers haven’t had a good kick returner since their last Superbowl win.

    Seriously, it’s been proven there is more risk in the trenches with the recurring sub-concussive hits the big boys take every play. How will they solve that?

  13. First and foremost what is this clown doing on the “competition committee”. The Packers are about as competitive as the 7 dwarfs after he let Terrible Ted decimate the Pack these last 4 or 5 years. Letting, the QB room is set smart guy hang around and eat brats isn’t helping either.

  14. Me watching the NFL faces elimination. Sure I’ll check out some primo Sunday night games, Thanksgiving and the playoffs – but the more the NFL beckons me to investigate if there’s more to life, the more I find: there is.

  15. Still no data on kickoff injuries. It’s a phantom problem unless they can show some data.

  16. Better eliminate punts too. Just move the ball 40 or 45 yards down the field and change sides. Make touchdowns an automatic 7 points. Then instead of kicking those ever dangerous field goals just flip coins to determine the 3 points. The NFL is so dangerous I can’t bear to watch it anymore so I watch the NHL instead.

  17. It won’t be long before “professional football” is a couple of nerds, wearing jerseys, playing Madden.

    Doubt me? Google “professional Overwatch league”.

  18. Is it possible to make a kickoff more like a punt. Eliminate the runup, put 10 guys on each line of scrimmage with one returner deep…if hangtime is an issue just use a punter like a free kick.

    I’m just an average fan with a BA in Sociology from an SEC school and I know it’s better to have a few solutions, test them in the preseason before banning a part of the game, so you’d think the Ivy educated DB’s collecting paychecks from the NFL HQ could come up with a few options.

  19. best exciting thing about football the kickoff. my son was a pretty good player in high school and he returned 2 kickoffs for touchdowns and thats how the that game was won. He reeturned a kickoff for 85 yards for the game ending touchdown, it was very exciting and the crowd was going crazy, Fans believe me its a part of football that can’t be taken awayand if they do its the domino effect of the game as we all know it.

  20. this is not the league i loved and watched before religiously , almost quit watching completely, no sunday ticket anymore watch maybe two games a week. this is why the nfl is losing fans not the anthem protest

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