Leisure Suits, VCRs, Flip Phones and now the NFL Kickoff…..

No offense to those of you who are still rockin’ the flip phone. Rock on!

“All good things must come to an end, but all bad things can go on forever.”

Recently NY Giants co owner John Mora said that he can see the day when NFL kickoffs are completely eliminated because moving them forward five yards reduced concussions last year. In the “no duh” department, how are guys going to get a concussion if the ball is never returned? Not likely to get your clock cleaned while jogging down the field watching the ball sail through the endzone right? With that logic, I suppose if you made the game flag football it would reduce concussions too. But it just might have the unintended effect of causing people to not watch the games anymore.

This appears to be all about the concussion problem the NFL is trying to address. Look I don’t like to see guys get concussions and I imagine most fans would also prefer that no one get injured but it is football isn’t it? If it becomes completely risk free then it wouldn’t be the same game would it?

The kickoff has been around for a long time but it is gradually being taken away from us. It will probably not come as a surprise to know that kickoff returns are way down. In fact only 53.5% of kicks were returned last season the lowest in league history.  And when kicks were returned out of the endzone, they rarely made it to the 20 yard line.

In a way, the kickoff return is already gone so why not just  put the ball on the 30 yard line or something? No thrill watching the ball sail through the endzone in an obligatory, ritualistic manner. Can it be saved? I would like to see the kickoff salvaged and get revitalized from what we had last year while also keeping the concussions down.

The problem appears to be the fact that the traditional kickoff allows players to gather speed by running for long distances before colliding with each other. Increasing the impact of the hit. Kind of a physics thing.

Newton’s Third law motion: The mutual forces of action and reaction between two bodies are equal, opposite and collinear.  

SUGGESTION:  First make it a rule that if the ball is completely kicked out of the endzone, the ball will be placed on the 40. That should give kickers a little incentive to keep it in play. Placing it on the 20 is not a punishment. Placing it on the 40 would treat it like kicking it out of bounds currently.

Player Safety: Now have the kicking team line up on the opposing team 40 yard line and the return team must have all players lined up on their own 30 yard line except for two kick returners. Opposing players will only be 10 yards from each other. The kicker can line up any where he wants to behind the 40 yard line.

The players (other than the kicker and two returners) can not move until either the ball is caught by a returner or the ball hits the ground. Keep in mind the kicker doesn’t want a touchback that puts the ball on the 40 so he will kick it short of the goal line. Almost every kick will be similar to an onsides kickoff. I love it! Bet that would keep you from going to the bathroom during the kickoff if it were like an onsides kick.

Stop the lame kickoff version we had last year (yawn) and also keep it safe with players running into each other after a short distance. And best of all, punish kickers who kick it though the endzone. Heck could have a linebacker kickoff with these rules.

“Never be afraid to try something new. Remember amateurs built the ark while professionals built the Titanic.”