(Image source: TIME)

BY STEVEN SPARKMAN

ANCHOR LAUREN ZIMA


NFL Football without kickoffs? Sounds like a radical rule change, but according to Time Magazine the idea is being kicked around in some of the league’s highest offices.


The story comes from TIME’s recent interview with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

Goodell talked about several issues related to player safety and the league’s response to the recent murder-suicide involving Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher. But TIME also sat in on a meeting between Goodell and the competition committee’s Rich McKay.

The two discussed taking kickoffs and onside kicks out of the NFL entirely, and replacing them with a play first floated this spring by Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano. Mike Florio describes the plan to CBS Sports Radio.

“It’s kind of like ‘make it take it.’ The team that scores gets the ball at their own 30, 4th and 15.”

Goodell says such a change would fit with his effort to make the game safer for players. TIME editor Jim Frederick visited CNN to help explain the reasoning.

“An overwhelming majority of concussions that are caused on the football field are during kickoffs. Cause it’s really the only scenario where eleven players are running at eleven players at full speed.”

By contrast, punt returns are thought to be much safer, but that could be the very thing that ruffles feathers. There’s a strong current of cynicism about recent rule changes designed to protect players, with the attitude being basically — “Football is violent. Deal with it.”

Like a writer for Bleacher Report, who responded to the TIME article with a little rant.

“At this rate, the NFL will be limited to two-hand touch by 2015. Can't push another player too hard or you get a four-game suspension. God forbid you give the quarterback a bruise—that will cost you $50,000.”

And then there are those who understand the need to protect players, but hate the see the game they’ve loved for so long go through such a drastic change.

A writer at RantSports says“Maybe I’m too much of a traditionalist but I like the way the game is and taking away kickoffs is too drastic of a change. There are other ways of making kickoffs safer ... but removing them all together makes little sense.”

But with the NFL plagued by injury-related lawsuits, the league has to be seen to take player safety seriously. Harold Ford on MSNBC reminds us — it’s still just a game.

“At the end of the day these are human beings, and you’ve gotta be mindful of the fact that we may play a lot of money to watch them play football, but they have families, they have lives to live...”

If the change does go ahead, it could affect the players in more ways than safety — like their paychecks for example. NBC Sports’ Dan Patrick lists how the change would affect every team’s roster.

“The move would make punters, long snappers and gunners more important along with punt returners. In turn, kickoff specialists would become extinct, return specialists … far less valuable.”

There’s no word on whether the change will actually go ahead, but the league has already tried to make kickoffs less dangerous by moving them to the 35 yard line this spring.

 

Could the NFL Get Rid of Kickoffs?

by Steven Sparkman
0
Transcript
Dec 6, 2012

Could the NFL Get Rid of Kickoffs?

 

(Image source: TIME)

BY STEVEN SPARKMAN

ANCHOR LAUREN ZIMA


NFL Football without kickoffs? Sounds like a radical rule change, but according to Time Magazine the idea is being kicked around in some of the league’s highest offices.


The story comes from TIME’s recent interview with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

Goodell talked about several issues related to player safety and the league’s response to the recent murder-suicide involving Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher. But TIME also sat in on a meeting between Goodell and the competition committee’s Rich McKay.

The two discussed taking kickoffs and onside kicks out of the NFL entirely, and replacing them with a play first floated this spring by Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano. Mike Florio describes the plan to CBS Sports Radio.

“It’s kind of like ‘make it take it.’ The team that scores gets the ball at their own 30, 4th and 15.”

Goodell says such a change would fit with his effort to make the game safer for players. TIME editor Jim Frederick visited CNN to help explain the reasoning.

“An overwhelming majority of concussions that are caused on the football field are during kickoffs. Cause it’s really the only scenario where eleven players are running at eleven players at full speed.”

By contrast, punt returns are thought to be much safer, but that could be the very thing that ruffles feathers. There’s a strong current of cynicism about recent rule changes designed to protect players, with the attitude being basically — “Football is violent. Deal with it.”

Like a writer for Bleacher Report, who responded to the TIME article with a little rant.

“At this rate, the NFL will be limited to two-hand touch by 2015. Can't push another player too hard or you get a four-game suspension. God forbid you give the quarterback a bruise—that will cost you $50,000.”

And then there are those who understand the need to protect players, but hate the see the game they’ve loved for so long go through such a drastic change.

A writer at RantSports says“Maybe I’m too much of a traditionalist but I like the way the game is and taking away kickoffs is too drastic of a change. There are other ways of making kickoffs safer ... but removing them all together makes little sense.”

But with the NFL plagued by injury-related lawsuits, the league has to be seen to take player safety seriously. Harold Ford on MSNBC reminds us — it’s still just a game.

“At the end of the day these are human beings, and you’ve gotta be mindful of the fact that we may play a lot of money to watch them play football, but they have families, they have lives to live...”

If the change does go ahead, it could affect the players in more ways than safety — like their paychecks for example. NBC Sports’ Dan Patrick lists how the change would affect every team’s roster.

“The move would make punters, long snappers and gunners more important along with punt returners. In turn, kickoff specialists would become extinct, return specialists … far less valuable.”

There’s no word on whether the change will actually go ahead, but the league has already tried to make kickoffs less dangerous by moving them to the 35 yard line this spring.

 

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