Steve Tasker built his NFL career around covering kicks and he’ll be part of a group getting together next month to discuss the future of kickoffs in the league.
Tasker will join “10 special-teams coaches around the NFL and a bunch of old guys like me who used to cover kicks” at a meeting in New York as the league contemplates changes to kickoffs. A rule change calling for touchbacks to come to the 25-yard line was made permanent at this year’s league meetings after two trial years and the tide is moving toward a future without kickoffs.
The NCAA has instituted a rule allowing teams to take the ball at the 25 after a fair catch on kickoffs while the upstart Alliance of American Football will do away with them entirely when they start play in 2019. Tasker believes the NFL is headed for the same decision.
“If they can find something they like, that will help because it is a violent play in the game,” Tasker said, via the Buffalo News. “It’s become part of our vernacular, let’s kick things off. … But I think its days are numbered. I think they’re going to come up with an alternative to the kickoff.”
Tasker went on to say he thinks the league will come up with a “creative alternative” that fans will like, although that surely won’t be a unanimous opinion when and if the league does away with a play that’s been a staple throughout its existence.