The NFL made sweeping changes to kickoff rules at the league meetings earlier this month in hopes of reducing the number of injuries sustained on such plays.
While the league believes that the changes will increase the number of kickoff returns and make it “a more explosive play” while simultaneously quelling the numbers of injuries, former NFL official Jim Daopoulos doesn’t understand why the league doesn’t nix the play altogether.
“I actually can see them eliminating the kickoff completely in the next couple of years,” Daopoulos said on SiriusXM NFL Radio. “I think it’s really going to come down to that. And I don’t even know why they keep the kickoff in the game by putting these new rules in. Why don’t they just put the ball at the 25-yard line? It’ll make it a whole lot simpler for everybody and really eliminate a lot of injuries.”
The changes made include eliminating running starts by the kickoff team, having eight members of the return team aligned within 15 yards of the restraining line, and eliminates wedge blocks on returns.
The NFL expects that the changes will reduce the numbers of injuries seen on kickoffs. But if injuries don’t decrease, there is a real chance that the play could eventually be eliminated as Daopoulos suggests.