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Goodell discusses eliminating kickoffs


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#1 DrewDawg


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Posted 06 December 2012 - 01:17 PM

http://espn.go.com/n...ffs-report-says

Goodell and McKay discussed an idea brought up by Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano in which a team, instead of kicking off, would get the ball at their own 30-yard line in a fourth-and-15 situation. The team then would punt the ball away or, to replace an onside kick, could go for it and, if they failed to get a first down, the opposing squad would start with great field position.

Schiano discussed his idea earlier in the season in an ESPN The Magazine story. Schiano, who was the coach at Rutgers in 2010 when Eric LeGrand was paralyzed on a kickoff, has seen first-hand how the play can adversely affect the safety of players.



#2 glennhoffmania


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Posted 06 December 2012 - 01:21 PM

Dear lord. The NFL needs less nonsense, not more.

#3 PeaceSignMoose

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 01:24 PM

This is one of the worst ideas I've ever heard.

#4 drleather2001


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Posted 06 December 2012 - 01:25 PM

Why not get rid of punts, too? Just move the line of scrimmage 40 yards away from the possessing team's goal line. If within 40 yards of the end zone, the ref flips a coin: Heads, the ball is at the 5. Tails, it's at the 20.

Fun!

#5 DrewDawg


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Posted 06 December 2012 - 01:27 PM

I think the fact that something this radical was even discussed means they are seriously looking at doing away with kick-offs.

If you just work with that premise, what's the best way to do that?

#6 Mystic Merlin


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Posted 06 December 2012 - 01:29 PM

I think the fact that something this radical was even discussed means they are seriously looking at doing away with kick-offs.

If you just work with that premise, what's the best way to do that?


Just put the ball at the 20 or 25?

#7 FL4WL3SS


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Posted 06 December 2012 - 01:30 PM

There are 9 innings and each team gets a turn in the inning. Whoever has more points at the end of the 9 innings wins.

#8 bougrj1

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 01:31 PM

If you just put the ball at the 20 or 25 then there's no way for any onside kick type of play. This makes two score games much less interesting, which is what the NFL will want to stay away from.

#9 glennhoffmania


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Posted 06 December 2012 - 01:31 PM

There are 9 innings and each team gets a turn in the inning. Whoever has more points at the end of the 9 innings wins.


This is a great idea. And if the away team scores only one point in an extra inning you keep playing, but if they score two the game is over.

#10 Mystic Merlin


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Posted 06 December 2012 - 01:34 PM

If you just put the ball at the 20 or 25 then there's no way for any onside kick type of play. This makes two score games much less interesting, which is what the NFL will want to stay away from.


Then eliminate extra points.

/troll

I hear what you're saying - I think any 'solution' is going to be inelegant and perhaps even kooky.

Edited by Mystic Merlin, 06 December 2012 - 01:34 PM.


#11 bougrj1

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 01:38 PM

I hear what you're saying - I think any 'solution' is going to be inelegant and perhaps even kooky.


Agreed... which is why I don't hate this idea the more I think about it. Why not pick a distance on 4th down that percentage wise is similar to recovering an onside kick and have the offense have a go at it. It would be entertaining and you wouldn't completely eliminate kick returns for scores as punts can obviously still be returned.

#12 Buck Showalter


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Posted 06 December 2012 - 01:39 PM

Bad idea.

Only "drastic" rule change I'm in favor of is seeing the extra point moved back to make the kick more difficult.

#13 Andrew


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Posted 06 December 2012 - 01:40 PM

They should just make every kick-off be required to be an onside kick. Think of the excitement!

#14 FL4WL3SS


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Posted 06 December 2012 - 01:41 PM

This is a great idea. And if the away team scores only one point in an extra inning you keep playing, but if they score two the game is over.

I was seriously only half joking -- I think football is a perfect candidate to be played like baseball. The average number of possessions in an NFL game is around 24, so 12 possessions each would work. There would need to be some logistics around turnovers, but I'm they could figure that out.

#15 glennhoffmania


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Posted 06 December 2012 - 01:41 PM

How do any of these ideas allow for the surprise onside kick?

#16 Mystic Merlin


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Posted 06 December 2012 - 01:41 PM

They should just make every kick-off be required to be an onside kick. Think of the excitement!


XFL-style.

#17 tims4wins


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Posted 06 December 2012 - 01:42 PM

They can do away with kickoffs and still have onside kicks. Just make it so the kicking team chooses to either give the other team the ball at the 20 or 25, or try an onside kick. You could have a rule for onside kicks that they couldn't be those pooch style kicks that go over the first wave of the return team; the rule would be that the ball has to be kicked into the ground. Seems pretty simple IMO.

I would also eliminate extra points and give teams the option of just taking the point or going for two.

#18 Mystic Merlin


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Posted 06 December 2012 - 01:43 PM

How do any of these ideas allow for the surprise onside kick?


They don't. How could they?

#19 Ralphwiggum

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 01:46 PM

Given the proposal that they outilned, I guess a fake punt would be the equivalent of a surprise onsides kick.

In terms of why they are suggesting this, are there more injuries (or more serious injuries) on kickoffs than other plays? Is there data around this?

#20 SeoulSoxFan


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Posted 06 December 2012 - 01:47 PM

Get rid of the sidelines.

Returners can run 80 yards to avoid a hit, and everyone will be so tired of running around that spine-crunching 'hits' will be things of the past.

ARE YOU LISTENING GOODELL!!1!!1!!1

#21 tims4wins


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Posted 06 December 2012 - 01:48 PM

Given the proposal that they outilned, I guess a fake punt would be the equivalent of a surprise onsides kick.

In terms of why they are suggesting this, are there more injuries (or more serious injuries) on kickoffs than other plays? Is there data around this?


I think the punt would be the safety style punt (i.e., no snap), but I may be wrong.

As for why, yes, to eliminate collisions. They made a rule against 3 man wedges a couple years ago to help. I'm sure they have some data but I haven't seen anything, personally.

#22 Bucknahs Bum Ankle


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Posted 06 December 2012 - 01:51 PM

Is there actual data showing that punt plays are less dangerous than kickoffs? What about the added risk to the kicker and holder?

Oops, hadn't seen the above posts. Saftey style punts would make more sense.

Edited by Bucknahs Bum Ankle, 06 December 2012 - 01:53 PM.


#23 glennhoffmania


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Posted 06 December 2012 - 01:58 PM

They don't. How could they?


Right, it was rhetorical. If there's 3 minutes left and you're down by a score, you shouldn't have to declare whether you're going to try an onside kick, or in Goodell's world, attempt to convert a 4th and 15.

#24 Wings

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 02:08 PM

I can't see the players being in favor of it, despite the risks involved in injury, because one would think that the amount of players needed would go down per team since you are eliminating a significant percentage of special team play. And you can argue the PAT is barely special at that since some teams (the Patriots for example) keep their starters in for PAT attempts. That being said, I don't think coaches would be in favor of reducing their rosters by the amount of players now not needed for kick offs. I'm sure the owners would love not to have to pay those guys, but most of those guys are fairly cheap anyway, aren't they? Niche and fringe guys certainly won't be in favor of it.

Edit: I'm not 100% sure the Patriots keep their starters in for pat attempts, but I assumed they do since Gronk was hurt on a pat attempt.

Edited by Wings, 06 December 2012 - 02:12 PM.


#25 drleather2001


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Posted 06 December 2012 - 02:14 PM

Make kickoffs be from the 40, and give the kicking team 3 points if the kick goes through the uprights. It's only returnable if it somehow lands in the endzone/field of play, either directly or after bouncing off the uprights, without first going OOB. Otherwise (regardless of whether the kick is missed or made) the receiving team starts at the 20.

Edited by drleather2001, 06 December 2012 - 02:16 PM.


#26 mt8thsw9th


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Posted 06 December 2012 - 02:15 PM

They should take a page from MLB and have an extra wild card team that gets to play a one quarter playoff to determine the 6th seed.

#27 lexrageorge

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 02:31 PM

Talk about a "solution" looking for a problem.

#28 tims4wins


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Posted 06 December 2012 - 02:32 PM

They should take a page from MLB and have an extra wild card team that gets to play a one quarter playoff to determine the 6th seed.


The equivalent would actually be to play a 6 minute quarter.

#29 Yaz4Ever


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Posted 06 December 2012 - 02:50 PM

XFL-style.


I was a season-ticket holder of the Las Vegas Outlaws during their only season. Putting the ball on the 50 and having each team send one player to run from opposite endzones toward that ball with possession going to whoever recovered it was a lot of fun. It's also a very, very bad idea. Loved the XFL, but things like that and the on-field cameramen were less than well thought out ideas, imho.

#30 BrazilianSoxFan

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 03:05 PM

Right, it was rhetorical. If there's 3 minutes left and you're down by a score, you shouldn't have to declare whether you're going to try an onside kick, or in Goodell's world, attempt to convert a 4th and 15.


As said up-thread, a fake punt* would be the equivalent of a surprise onside kick.

* Only if the mandated punt is a normal one and not the safety style.

#31 glennhoffmania


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Posted 06 December 2012 - 03:14 PM

As said up-thread, a fake punt* would be the equivalent of a surprise onside kick.

* Only if the mandated punt is a normal one and not the safety style.


It has to be the safety style. Otherwise the punter would be kicking from about the 15. I'm assuming he picked the 30 because that would make the punts reach the end zone at least some of the time. Also, the idea that the receiving team could possibly block a punt on a kickoff is even too ridiculous for Goodell.

#32 TheoShmeo


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Posted 06 December 2012 - 03:16 PM

If they want to reduce injuries, they should just eliminate the last five minutes of the game.

#33 04101Seadog

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 03:25 PM

Eliminate kick-offs and punts. You get the ball at the 20, and a first down is 20 yards w/ 4 plays to get there. You fail to make a first the other team gets the ball where you stopped. If a team scores, they get the ball back at their own 20. The Defense has to make stops our your offense will never see the ball.

Or just wrap them all in bubble wrap and packing tape....and then remember that it's football and stuff happens, so just go play.

#34 dbn

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 03:28 PM

The obvious and only solution is to do the kickoffs on Madden.

#35 Lefty on the Mound


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Posted 06 December 2012 - 03:29 PM

If they want to prevent players from getting hurt on kickoffs just put them all in those sumo wrestler suits.

#36 Sausage in Section 17


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Posted 06 December 2012 - 03:56 PM

Talk about a "solution" looking for a problem.


Umm, yeah, what's the problem again?

Sorry to hear about the guy who got paralyzed, but is anyone saying there are rampant injuries on kickoffs as compared to other elements of the game? The kickoff is an exciting play, and just because not every game is close at the end is no reason to do away with it.

#37 Orel Miraculous

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 03:59 PM

This just proves my theory that football isn't even a real sport. It's just a bunch of track and field athletes playing a game with an arbitrary set of gimmicky rules that are constantly changed. It's an athletic spectacle, not a sport. There's no other sport that could change it's rules so drastically without existentially changing the sport itself.

Edited by Orel Miraculous, 06 December 2012 - 04:00 PM.


#38 DrewDawg


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Posted 06 December 2012 - 04:02 PM

but is anyone saying there are rampant injuries on kickoffs as compared to other elements of the game?


Yes, people are saying that.

Changes to the NFL's kickoff rules appear to account for a slight decline in the number of concussions reported across the league last season, according to a consulting firm's study of injury data provided by the NFL Players Association.

Jesse David, senior vice president at Edgeworth Economics, said the number of concussions reported on kickoffs decreased by about 43 percent from 2010 to 2011. That led to a slight drop in the overall number of reported concussions, reversing a multiyear trend toward more head injuries, he said.




NCAA data indicates injuries during kickoffs occur more often than in other phases of the game," the NCAA said on its website



#39 Van Everyman


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Posted 06 December 2012 - 04:02 PM

I'm actually surprised that people are being so flip about this. I mean, put aside the specific suggestion -- the NFL may well be in a place where it HAS to consider substantive rule changes going forward to survive.

#40 Hendu for Kutch

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 04:07 PM

So let's say there's a defensive holding on the fake 4th and 15 play. Is that an automatic first down? I'm not at all comfortable with referees essentially have the ability to award possession on those sorts of important plays.

#41 Ralphwiggum

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 04:16 PM

I'm actually surprised that people are being so flip about this. I mean, put aside the specific suggestion -- the NFL may well be in a place where it HAS to consider substantive rule changes going forward to survive.


Sure, but this just seems like a ridiculously radical change, one that would fundamentally impact the flow and strategy of the game from everything from roster construction to in-game decision making. The numbers posted above indicate that by tweaking the rules around what you can and cannot do on kickoffs they reduced concussions on those plays by 43%. That's pretty impressive and it seems like if kickoffs are the issue, something much less drastic could be done in order to further effect those numbers.

Edited by Ralphwiggum, 06 December 2012 - 04:18 PM.


#42 IHit80inthe90s

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 04:16 PM

How about moving kickoffs back to say, the 15, and making them all a fair catch situation? No returns possible for the receiving team, but still the possibility of the onsides kick. If the receiving team muffs the catch, it's a 5 yard penalty from the spot of the muff (now that was fun to type). Wind direction and strength would play a larger role, but what else am I missing here?

#43 ifmanis5


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Posted 06 December 2012 - 04:48 PM

Flag football is always an option.

#44 Mystic Merlin


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Posted 06 December 2012 - 04:52 PM

This just proves my theory that football isn't even a real sport. It's just a bunch of track and field athletes playing a game with an arbitrary set of gimmicky rules that are constantly changed. It's an athletic spectacle, not a sport. There's no other sport that could change it's rules so drastically without existentially changing the sport itself.


No, no it does not.

#45 Kenny F'ing Powers


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Posted 06 December 2012 - 04:57 PM

This just proves my theory that football isn't even a real sport. It's just a bunch of track and field athletes playing a game with an arbitrary set of gimmicky rules that are constantly changed. It's an athletic spectacle, not a sport. There's no other sport that could change it's rules so drastically without existentially changing the sport itself.


What are you talking about?

This is the equivalent of "wood bat or aluminum?" People discuss it, realize how much it affects the game (and how dumb it is), and move on.

#46 bowiac


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Posted 06 December 2012 - 05:06 PM

Also, pretty much every sport is a bunch of track and field athletes playing a game with an arbitrary set of gimmicky rules. That the rules can change doesn't mean it's not a sport. I don't even know what that's supposed to mean.

I actually don't think this is such an awful idea. I think the 4th and 15th idea is basically as exciting as a kickoff, and if it's less dangerous, I don't see the issue. Are punts that much less interesting than kickoffs?

#47 singaporesoxfan

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 05:09 PM

Is there a way to revamp kickoffs to avoid the touchdown - extra point - commercial - kickoff - commercial sequence? Though obviously the NFL would love more ad breaks.

#48 MentalDisabldLst


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Posted 06 December 2012 - 05:22 PM

Right, it was rhetorical. If there's 3 minutes left and you're down by a score, you shouldn't have to declare whether you're going to try an onside kick, or in Goodell's world, attempt to convert a 4th and 15.


It has to be the safety style. Otherwise the punter would be kicking from about the 15. I'm assuming he picked the 30 because that would make the punts reach the end zone at least some of the time. Also, the idea that the receiving team could possibly block a punt on a kickoff is even too ridiculous for Goodell.


I disagree, I think it has to be the normal 4th-down punt formation rather than the Free Kick situation - mostly to avoid the first issue you speak about. That way, an onsides is performed just the way a fake punt is today. And if you don't even want to surprise them, because you're down 7 points with 1:15 to go and hold no timeouts, then just send the offense out on the field so teams can see a visually interesting offensive football play. The "hands team" they send out right now for onside kicks really doesn't put the best foot forward aesthetically, not to mention athletically.

Your point about where the punter would be kicking makes sense. Maybe you'd make the initial line-of-scrimmage the 40, then, because plenty of punters are capable of reaching the opposing end zone from there (and the kicking team's 40 is where a lot of failed onsides today are recovered). And if this results in more fair catches called for, well, that just further serves the intention of this change: minimizing injuries.

Your point about blocking a kickoff is interesting. But wouldn't it be fun if a desperate team, down by 7 with 30 seconds to go, could rush 9 to block a punt and maybe succeed? The odds of a successful punt block are in the 1-2% range, about the same as the odds of running a kickoff (or punt) back for a TD. I don't see how this fundamentally alters the competitive balance of the game. Don't want the punt blocked? Then as Belichick says, Do Your Job.

I can't see the players being in favor of it, despite the risks involved in injury, because one would think that the amount of players needed would go down per team since you are eliminating a significant percentage of special team play. And you can argue the PAT is barely special at that since some teams (the Patriots for example) keep their starters in for PAT attempts. That being said, I don't think coaches would be in favor of reducing their rosters by the amount of players now not needed for kick offs. I'm sure the owners would love not to have to pay those guys, but most of those guys are fairly cheap anyway, aren't they? Niche and fringe guys certainly won't be in favor of it.


You can't see the players being in favor of something that reduces injuries, thus keeping them in the game and league longer, earning pro-athlete salaries longer? Something that reduces head injuries in particular, so they don't end up with the mental faculties of an eggplant like Jim McMahon by the time they're 50?

No doubt the NFLPA would insist that this change not reduce the number of players on an active roster from 53. I can't see any reason the league would object to that. This move isn't about making more money (i.e. reducing the # of paid players), it's about reducing the risk of turning viewers off from the barbarity of the violence visited upon players. The more their sport continues to engender feelings like the ones we get watching "Raging Bull", the more real those risks become. The NFL isn't just for macho dudes who like to see limbs separated from their owners anymore, it has mass-market appeal, and has to think about how to continue appealing to their marginal customers, not just their core customers. I'm sure that's why Goodell contemplated this, and I don't think it's a bad thing.

So let's say there's a defensive holding on the fake 4th and 15 play. Is that an automatic first down? I'm not at all comfortable with referees essentially have the ability to award possession on those sorts of important plays.


If you choose to go for it (i.e. do the onsides), you're already bringing in all the normal risks as an offensive team that you'd normally carry for going for it on 4th and 15 from your own 30. The very small percent chance of a downfield defensive penalty is part of the upside for you, but the overwhelming likelihood is that you fail to convert and turn the ball over on downs, on your own 30.

Referees already award possession on onside kicks as a result of mad scrambles and pig piles, and trying to ascertain who went to the bottom of the pile with the ball. Usually they do it based on whoever emerges from the pile with the ball, which is just a question of who was able to grab enough other players' ballsacks and poke enough eyeballs and twist enough pinkies to make them all give up the ball. It's a fucking horrifying mess in football pigpiles, and sometimes there's penalties on kickoffs too. This certainly wouldn't decrease the objectivity of an onsides kick, though you could argue that it doesn't increase it either.

Edited by MentalDisabldLst, 06 December 2012 - 05:29 PM.


#49 Dehere

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 05:24 PM

I'd like to see the details on the rates of injuries on various types of plays.

Seems like there's a greater risk of injury in obvious passing situations like the proposed 4th and 15 than on a kickoff.

#50 Ralphwiggum

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 05:42 PM

4th and 15 doesn't seem nearly long enough to me. Personally I hate this idea but to make it viable you'd have to make the number of yards "to go" long enough so that it would be roughly equal to the odds of recovering an onsides kick when the other team knows it is coming. And the point about penalties is a good one, particularly the automatic first down on a 5 yard defensive holding call (which probably should be changed anyway).

As to the injury factor, the numbers posted above to me argue against this kind of change significantly. By tweaking the rules they were able to significantly reduce the number of concussions on kickoffs, but barely made a dent in the overall rate of concussions presumably because there are so few kickoffs as compared to normal offensive and defensive plays. Particularly when you are replacing the kickoff with a live play (ether a punt or a regular offensive play) when the chance of injury is still there, I just don't see how this would be of significant enough benefit to so radically alter the way the game has been played basically forever.

I would hate it but if injuries on kickoffs are that big of a deal then they should just eliminate kickoffs or move the ball so far up that the only two things that would ever happen would be touchback or onsides kick.

Edited by Ralphwiggum, 06 December 2012 - 05:42 PM.





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