FanDuel - WFBC

December 07, 2012

NFL Might Eliminate Kickoffs: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league is considering the elimination of kickoffs for safety reasons. One option being floated: After a score, the scoring team gets the ball on its own 30 with a situation analogous to fourth-and-15. It can go for it or punt.

posted by rcade to football at 08:19 AM - 21 comments

I find myself watching the game I love a little less as time go's on and I think this idea, if implemented, will push me over the edge.

posted by bo_fan at 12:04 PM on December 07

This idea is so odd it'll make the real no-kickoff proposal seem normal.

If kickoffs have to die and punts are safer, why not replace a kickoff with a punt?

posted by rcade at 12:26 PM on December 07

If kickoffs have to die and punts are safer, why not replace a kickoff with a punt?

Because there's no level of choice in a punt. With a kickoff, you can choose the onside kick, giving up ground for a chance at recovering. You can't pooch a punt hoping your guy gets to it first. This system would replace many kickoffs with punts but still give the kicking team a chance to make that gamble of giving up ground in exchange for a chance at getting the ball "back."

I like this idea in principle, but I think it needs a little more fiddling before it's ready for prime time.

posted by Etrigan at 01:11 PM on December 07

If kickoffs have to die and punts are safer, why not replace a kickoff with a punt?

That's basically what they've done here, but they've provided an (odd) alternative for the onside kick. Are kickoffs really so dangerous that they must be eliminated? I don't remember a ton of injuries from kickoffs.

posted by bender at 01:12 PM on December 07

Sounds like a way to make games more interesting and offer more offense. Nothing is being made safer. It is allowing the gamblers more opportunities with points spreads. Please tell me someone else here is a "South Park" fan and saw the episode where they played sarcastic ball.

posted by Debo270 at 01:21 PM on December 07

I don't remember a ton of injuries from kickoffs.

I think there are. Remember the people getting injured are usually special teams players, so TV coverage doesn't really focus on them with the exception of one or two guys in each conference who are supposed to be the best special teams players. Kickoffs have also (theoretically) gotten safer in the past few years with the change in where they kick from and the reduction of wedges.

I do think 4th and 15 isn't risky enough in today's NFL. You don't think Brady/ Manning/ et al would be salivating at the chance to score and then convert a 4th and 15 if they were down two scores?

posted by yerfatma at 01:25 PM on December 07

You don't think Brady/ Manning/ et al would be salivating at the chance to score and then convert a 4th and 15 if they were down two scores?

Yes indeed, and I also think Jim Harbaugh would be salivating at the chance to score and convert the 4th and 15 if he were up five scores on Pete Carroll.

posted by beaverboard at 01:46 PM on December 07

I'm up for anything that isn't: score - commercial break - kick for touchback - commercial break.

posted by tron7 at 02:03 PM on December 07

I think there are. Remember the people getting injured are usually special teams players, so TV coverage doesn't really focus on them

They tend to hide the injuries on special teams with the ream of commercials that happen after every kick-off. By the time the game is back on, the injured guy has probably been carried/hobbled to the sidelines.

posted by grum@work at 02:18 PM on December 07

I can remember two broken spines over the last few years (both in college), and each was on a kickoff.

posted by Etrigan at 02:37 PM on December 07

Fair enough. I suppose kickoffs also make up a very small percentage of plays, so even one kickoff injury every few games on a kickoff could make for a much higher rate than the average play from scrimmage. I'll accept that you guys are right about kickoff injuries being buried in commercials and lesser-known players.

posted by bender at 02:51 PM on December 07

The injuries in kickoffs result from the high speeds at which collisions between players happen. During a punt at least some of the kicking team's players are involved in blocking for the kicker, thus are unable to get a running start until the ball is well on its way. Likewise, the returning team has to drop back from the line of scrimmage before turning to block for the returner. If kickoff rules were modified to force kicking team players, except perhaps for 2 or 3 'gunners', to remain in place until a second or 2 after the kick, and the receiving team were required to keep several players (let's say all but 3 or 4) within 5 yards of the point of the kick for the same amount of time, then conditions would somewhat replicate those of a punt. Doing away with kickoffs, while meritorious for the sake of reducing injury, is a step toward eliminating tackle football entirely.

posted by Howard_T at 04:27 PM on December 07

Doing away with kickoffs, while meritorious for the sake of reducing injury, is a step toward eliminating tackle football entirely.

I was thinking the same thing, even though the suggested course of action to replace kickoffs does sound intriguing. But if this gets the green light, what's next? Counting to five-Mississippi before rushing the quarterback? Or making all the players wear flags on their belts?

posted by NerfballPro at 04:39 PM on December 07

Debo270: I'm not really into the NFL, so I'll stay out of the main conversation, but I love me some Southpark, so I'm definitely with you there

posted by sbacharach at 05:14 PM on December 07

Debo, I saw the episode. I'd rather go toward the Canadian option where the team scored upon has the option to receive a kickoff to take the ball from scrimmage.

As for the onside kicks, the only way I could see this, since it would be like rugby, would be is if the punter could position himself anywhere along the 30 (not just between the hashes) to provide more length if needed.

posted by jjzucal at 05:25 PM on December 07

I'd argue it might also be just as effective to eliminate the 10-yard neutral zone and allow defenses to line up directly across from the other team (with maybe a 5-yard box around the tee so you can't try and block the kick).

Or keep the kicker where he is and move the kicking teams directly across from the defense. Something like that.

posted by Bonkers at 05:36 PM on December 07

Doing away with kickoffs, while meritorious for the sake of reducing injury, is a step toward eliminating tackle football entirely.

Try not to slip on that slope!

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 05:50 PM on December 07

But if this gets the green light, what's next?

The same thing was said when new rules protected the quarterback and defenseless receivers. I'll bet someone said it when the facemask was added.

posted by rcade at 08:06 PM on December 07

It hasn't been real football since those pussies started wearing helmets. If God wanted us to play with leather on our heads, he'd have made us cows. Do I look like a fuckin' cow to you?

posted by Etrigan at 12:42 AM on December 08

+1

posted by tron7 at 02:43 PM on December 08

Defenseless quarterback? Defenseless receiver? If the league officials don't want them to get hit, make them wear short skirts and cotton panties with rainbows or lollipops on them. Damn sissies!

posted by Howard_T at 04:43 PM on December 08

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