It’s clear the kickoff is on the endangered species list

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With the NFL gradually making the kickoff less and less relevant, it feels inevitable that the kickoff will be going away. And that’s probably what the NFL wanted.

Moving the kickoff from the 30 back to the 35 and moving the touchback from the 20 to the 25 reduces the number of kickoffs, making it less dramatic when the number plunges to zero. The only question left is when the number plunges to zero.

I’ve set the over-under at 2.5 years for the elimination of the kickoff. It may be wise to take the under; the new helmet rule makes it clear that the NFL continues to be obsessed with making the game safer. With the league repeatedly calling the kickoff the most dangerous play in the game, the only way to make that aspect of the game safer will be to get rid of the play altogether.

Related to the question of when is the question of what the league will use in its place. The best (perhaps only) possibility continues to be giving the team that would have been kicking off the ball on its own 30 or 35, facing fourth and 15.

56 responses to “It’s clear the kickoff is on the endangered species list

  1. All because certain players don’t know how to properly tackle someone and use their helmet as a weapon! Lame! Kick the kick off and punt return!

  2. “The best (perhaps only) possibility continues to be giving the team that would have been kicking off the ball on its own 30 or 35, facing fourth and 15.”
    This amounts to the NFL version of make it, take it. Hate it. Plus, Schiano.

    My preferred idea is to give each team two kickoffs to use at any point during the game. And they can save one of those two kickoffs for an onside kickoff.

    Alternatively, the rules could allow for a kickoff only in the final two minutes when the scoring team is trailing by eight points or less.

  3. So had this happened already, we’d have pretty much never known about guys like Devin Hester or other incredible returners. Too many decisions being made by people who have never touched a field as a player.

  4. One thing I won’t miss is the TV stations showing ads both before and after the kickoff.

  5. The solution is so easy – only have kickoffs to start the halves.

    If an offense scores a touchdown AND a 2 point conversion, they should get to keep the ball.

    Any other change of possession would be handled by giving the ball to the opposing offense at the 15 yard line.

    Reward good offenses and penalize bad defenses – more scoring is good – and force teams to actually play football when they first get the ball – starting at the 15 yard line is a great stresser and gives the defense a chance for easy scores.

  6. oh please – real reason is money – no kickoffs, one less position owners have to pay for. player safety my rear end.

  7. These unneeded and unwanted rule changes have changed the game, and they may be the real reason why NFL TV ratings have declined. People blame anthem protests but these silly rule changes may be the real culprit.

  8. I have an idea. Why not just kick the ball off with just 6 men on each side? There would be much less chance of injury if they reduced the number of players running around helter skelter. And there would probably be more touchdowns on kickoffs, which would add to the excitement.

  9. Kickoffs won’t go away entirely until they can figure out how to still have onside kicks. Because people will turn off the TV early if their only hope is a fluke fumble by the team that is ahead late in the game.

  10. The solution is so easy: quit changing the rules. Have players sign injury waivers. They make generational wealth to play the game already. Then the NFL can quit tailoring the rules to avoid future litigation with former players.

  11. The safety of the players being so paramount, evidently, to the NFL; perhaps it is time to have OSHA create workplace “safety” rules for their workplace. They could eliminate all actions that could cause death or injury, have specifications for body protections, etc. After all, OSHA has a three volume set of regulations for ladders, they could do the same for uniforms and pads. Heck, even get the American public involved, have Congress legislate the rules of the game. After all, our elected representatives are solely focused upon the good, and the desires, of our citizens, correct?

  12. Glad I’m old enough to have watched Devin Hester, Eric Metcalf, Brian Mitchell & Dant’e Hall. One of the most exciting plays in football when a returner takes it to the house.

  13. I think you mean as long as the media continues to be obsessed with making the game safer the NFL will continue to tinker with game changes.

  14. How about give all the players a belt with two yellow flags hanging? Or to make the score higher. Eliminate the pass rush? How about eliminate both lines. Just have skill positions only. Forget FG’s. Just a QB throwing the ball..No RB’s (cuz there is no defense to stop the run now)

    Or how about stop trying to fix a game that isn’t broken. No teams out of the country, and a catch is a catch…Jeez

  15. HUGE NFL Fan, Season Ticket holder here- im sorry, but this would drastically reduce my love of the game….it would no longer be the same game at all. Kickoff returns for TDs are one of the most exciting plays in the sport, and taking away the field position aspect just completely changes the game……..this would suck IMO

  16. “I’ve set the over-under at 2.5 years for the elimination of the kickoff”….forget Kickoff !
    The Over and Under should be for set for the elimination of the game The NFL is so bound up in Safety legalese…that it will destroy the game!..I fear grave consequences for the future of NFL game play…it is nearly unwatchable as it now stands…rule changes, incessant commercials, high salaries, lack of player preparedness, arrogance, greed, high cost of attending games…they have just about killed the golden goose !

  17. So the owners want to get rid of the most dangerous play in football. Well, once the kick off is removed, a new play, necessarily (see what I did there Florio), will step up as the new most dangerous play. What play would this be? The punt? The 7 step drop? Drive blocking? Point being, there will always be a most dangerous play no matter what. There will be a point where I give up my season tix. Will the new generation of football fans pick them up? I won’t care

  18. The 4th and 15 solution is not the only solution. If you have to get rid of kickoffs, just give it to who would be the receiving team at their own 25. 4th and 15 gives an unfair advantage to teams with a good deep pass game.

  19. Punt returns are one heck of a lot more dangerous than kickoff returns, and these wizards of smart are going to replace the kickoff with a punt return? That is both a very bad idea and a very dumb idea.

    Not buying it. I’ll take the over x n, with n >= 2.

  20. The running full speed, 60+ plus yards creates BIG collisions.

    Make the kick team AND the receiving team line up within a 10 yd gap of each other
    as the kickoff happens. Only the kicker, and two return men separated from the “gap”.

    No build up of speed running a long way before contact.. Less big impacts.. Less injury.

  21. Seems if the NFL was really listening, they’d notice that almost 100% of responders here are against getting rid of kickoffs. Stop trying to ‘fix it and make it better’ because you aren’t making it better.

    “Football is the krab meat of sports” – Love that!

  22. That 4th and 15 idea is moronic. I can just see offensive players getting into position to drag a flag on it and bam, the team keeps the ball. Also, why replace the kickoff with the option to punt on that play? Punts are arguably more dangerous than kickoffs.

    I’ll be surprised if this league is still around in 10 years att he rate it is going under goodell.

  23. It’s too bad, but the NFL has done the research and its about the physics. They way players are built today, size, speed, etc. it’s only a matter of time before someone dies from a hit on a kickoff. Having a guy 275 running at full speed with a 40-50 yard head start, while the other guy is built a little less and faster is a head on crash that worries the NFL. Unfortunate as it’s an exciting play, but it’s the reason why the kickoff is on the endangered list.

  24. Another option is to allow Onsides kicks ONLY.
    MY bet is they cause fewer injuries and would retain the ability to use it when getting the ball back is required.

  25. I’ve been an NFL fan since 1970. However, eliminating the kickoff would be the rule change that ends it for me and moves my loyalty to college football and the Canadian Football League as well as soccer. Football is a dangerously always has been and always will be. The players understand that risk,especially today. Some players have retired early because the risk was not worth it to them. I say let each individual player decide if playing football is worth the risk inherent to the game. Keep the kickoff intact!

  26. im a titans fan and hardcore nfl watcher since 1998…if they do this ill never watch another play or game…period…onside kicks? helloooo

  27. Why dont you just force cordarrelle patterson back to a junior college to finish his education while you’re at it.

    The Kickoff rules. Keep ruining the game and keep wondering why you’re ticket sales and viewership ratings are dropping. Oh, yea an election and kneeling. C’mon Man!

  28. What’s next? Making a defender count to 5 Mississippi before rushing the quarterback to avoid the passer being blindsided on a blitz?

    No one wants to see injuries, but football is a contact sport. You can only do so much until you’ve turned it into something that doesn’t even resemble the sport anymore.

  29. mogogo1 says:
    March 29, 2018 at 11:38 am

    Kickoffs won’t go away entirely until they can figure out how to still have onside kicks.

    Why can’t they have both?

  30. poison66 says:
    March 29, 2018 at 11:55 am
    The NFL is ruining a once great game. Nice job idiots.

    53 1 Rate This


    I see lots of comments rated like this one: a bunch to 1. Is some reader making it his business to come on here and make sure every comment gets at least 1 thumbs down?

  31. I know protesters will respond with junior league comments but the CFL did eliminate kick-offs and it did not change the game one bit. They’re not even missed and the game moves faster. Play starts with an opposing team offensive play after PAT. I read a comment about take tackling away as well like the kick-off missing will lose that? It is still replace with a play – just no wasted time watching someone boot it through the end zone before they get to run that play. And a far greater chance to score from that scrimmage play than having a kick off run back. 100% greater chance than the kick through the end zone.

  32. get rid of 6 or 7 kickoff plays, but keep 80+ impact scrimmage plays. Makes no sense! Actually give home field the ball OR option, opening kick, that saves 2 on the 30 yard line,

  33. As a season ticket holder, outside of the games I go to & my teams games, I don’t watch any other NFL games unless it’s on in the place I am at at that time. Stopped watching terrible pregame shows of ex-players laughing & idiot standups being even dumber and try to never watch with the TV sound on because the commentators & announcers don’t have a clue what they are talking about (mainly becasue NOBODY knows the rules) & blab nonstop for whichever side they are slanted towards. I pay attention everyday to what is going on in season & off-season, but that’s all I need, to read about it. It is becoming brutal to watch ANY game without a rooting interest & fantasy football is just another way for me to bet, but I check my scores. No need to watch the filth actually play out it’s slow death. I can just look at numbers & figure if I won or lost. Keep making changes for change sake, soon football will be soccer, wrestling (XFL) will be watchable football, & the spring football season will be in the air.

    Oh, and with the articles subject, how much more unsafe is the kickoff????
    Since the removal of the wedge/wedgebusters I can’t remember a game when it was all “these kickoffs are a slaughterfest!!!” unless we are including kickers tearing their groins & hammies or something.

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