The NFL has a new kickoff rule. Whether the NFL will still have a kickoff remains to be seen.
After multiple attempts to make the so-called “most dangerous play in the game” less dangerous by using it less frequently, the NFL has made the play less dangerous by making it safer. Which is fine, but one question remains: How safe does the kickoff have to become in order to save it?
Packers CEO Mark Murphy recently explained that players are five times more likely to suffer a concussion on a kickoff than during a play from scrimmage. So what does the new ratio have to be? Saints coach and Competition Committee member Sean Payton didn’t have a specific response when asked that question during a recent visit to PFT; the goal for now is to simply make the play safer.
Still, someone surely has an idea as to how safe it will have to be. If the revamped kickoff doesn’t address the broader goal of reducing the overall physical risks associated with the play, the play will not survive.
And at a time when football fans should be far more concerned about the impact of the rule regarding the lowering of the helmet when initiating contact on the sport as we know it, the potential elimination of the kickoff could be the thing that does far more to alienate fans than players taking a knee during the national anthem.