Steve Tasker part of group discussing future of kickoffs

Getty Images

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.

27 responses to “Steve Tasker part of group discussing future of kickoffs

  1. Still no data from the league, from the media, from the union, from anywhere. Until evidence is presented that kickoffs are a problem, the problem is a phantom issue. If it’s so serious, then evidence should be abundant and simple to obtain and publish.

  2. Why not swap kick offs for punting from a certain yard line?

    Imagine the excitement that could be riding from an opening blocked punt seconds after the game starts!

    Could still have a punt return for a touchdown… Or a fair catch.

    And since no one is talking about taking away the punts that happen constantly throughout the game…This would still allow the same type of start to games now.

  3. Why not turn to the big screen on kick offs and let the kick off play out on Madden and place the ball as if it were real. And then pick the camera back up on the real game. No one hurt, Kick off still in the game, and life goes on. This is ridiculous. Its is a great rush moment that something big could happen.

  4. First they took away his DB’s ability to be hands on. Next they took away his draft capital. Then they took his QB. Now they attack special teams — a shot to his very heart.

    It won’t work. It never works.

  5. More BS to remove a possibly exciting way to start a game!! The total ridiculousness about it being “violent” is just silly….football IS violent in parts and that is OK!!! Where are all the stats on kickoffs and injuries?? Why not look at the real reason there are injuries ON kickoffs instead of throwing it all away. The NFL again doing something dumb!!

  6. Just combine the extra point and kickoff into one play and get it over with. It keeps the extra point, the kickoff and onside kicks part of the game, but it saves time, massively reduces kickoff returns and should reduce injuries.

    You have the choice to kick off from the 50 yard line or the 35. If you kick from the 50, and it goes through the upright, you get 1 point and the other team starts at the 20. If you kick off from the 35, and it goes through the uprights, you get 2 points, and the other team again gets it at the 20. If you miss, the receiving team can return it, or fair catch it anywhere and get it at the 25. Onside kicks are still available but must occur from the 35.

    It also adds a new dimension of strategy, as you would have to decide whether to take the extra points and play defense or try for the onside kick. I think it would be great.

  7. Tasker was good.

    Phil McConkey was the best, played for the Giants, remember that guy?

    Full speed ahead returner, got blown up each and every time.

    Sick moustache, if I recall.

  8. The nfl and the ncaa are trying to protect themselves from lawsuits.

    If the leadership of the nfl and ncaa stick their heads in the sand… they could lose a lot of money in a jury trial.

  9. “It’s become part of our vernacular, let’s kick things off. … But I think its days are numbered.”

    And I think the days of the NFL having the huge fanbase its had and generating the amount of revenue its been generating are numbered too.

  10. Rather than neutering or removing kickoffs, just replace them with punts.
    We still get action rather than a boring tough back, and the play is safer.

    If kickoffs are too dangerous then whats next, punts? How about no more punting, just an automatic 40 yard turnover, or if withing 40 yars, half the distance to the goal line.

  11. Kickoffs are so disappointing. They are like the off-season where the NFL markets every team as a possible contender and the season starts and only a handful of teams have a serious shot of winning it all. It feels like the only good kick off returns I see are in highlights and not the games I’ve watched that week.

    They are filled with commercials too. I can’t think of a way to replace them though. Every option seems to have one glaring hole.

  12. Every time I turn around, I’m presented with another reason to like NFL football less. By all means, find ways to make the game safer, but within the context of better equipment, outlawing obvious shots to the head, etc. Leave the damn game itself and the way it’s played alone!!!

  13. If there are no voices advocating FOR kickoffs then all the meetings are a waste of time. I’ve yet to see a rash of injuries since they eliminated the wedge. I just don’t think there is a need to eliminate one of the most potentially exciting plays in the game. Kickoffs also play a huge factor in terms of strategy towards the end of the games as well as surprises like the 2nd half kickoff in the Saints SuperBowl. The NFL seems to have made their decision and are now trying to sell it before implementation. Tasker is best known as a special teams guy, yet, his entire point for being their is validity for the fans. Look at what he said. Does that sound like a guy ready to defend how he made his name in the NFL? Nope. He was interviewed, said he thinks kickoffs will go away and then he was chosen to be part of the group. It’s ridiculous. They are changing the game so much that it will soon qualify as a different game altogether and at that point the NFL won’t have to worry about ex-players siphoning profits through frivolous lawsuits–they will be more concerned with why many fans walked away.

  14. People don’t get it. Concussion numbers were up 13% from 2016 to 2017; they won’t stop increasing. Everyone was just as aware of concussions in 2016 as they were 12 months later, so increased reporting doesn’t account for all of that–concussions are, in actual reality, going UP in the NFL, not even staying stable, and definitely not going down.

    That’s a huge problem for the NFL, and they feel an urgency to make those numbers start leveling off. Kickoffs are an easy place to attack the problem…except everything they’ve tried has failed so far.

  15. I can’t wait until they get rid of it so all of these “fans” can stop clogging up the comments sections with their crying.

  16. toadinthewoods says:
    April 15, 2018 at 2:03 pm

    Kickoffs are an easy place to attack the problem…except everything they’ve tried has failed so far.

    The problem with their latest failed attempt is that it is more advantageous to the receiving team to have a touchback that it is the kicking team.

  17. Try having the coverage teams and return teams line up just 15 yards apart.
    With only the Kicker and return men separated from them.

    No 60 yard, full speed sprints, many less injuries?

  18. Why not just make it mandatory initially to line up in the punt formation on a particular yard line with the down to gain being 10? If you need to “onside” it to get the ball back, you can run a fake or audible out to a standard formation. That way you aren’t taking the kicking and return element out of the game totally, but it seems that there aren’t as many injuries out of the punt formation/return vs kickoffs.

  19. That would be the end of watching football for me and I bet a lot of others. As is I’ve lost a lo5 of interest over the years but the end of kickoffs would be the end of the NFL as far as I’m concerned.

  20. Eliminating the kickoff is changing the game entytoi much. It will result in the loss of fans.

    The slow decline of the NFL continues but this will speed up the process immensely.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!