Next NFL Rule Change Could Be Eliminating Kickoffs?
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says the league’s competition committee may consider eliminating kickoffs as a way to reduce violent collisions – another step in player safety.
Instead of kickoffs after a score, or to start a half, teams would have the ball at their own 30 yard line and have the option to punt the ball away, or try what is described as a fourth-and-15 scenario, according to espn.com.
The ‘kicking team’ could opt to go for it – essentially substituting an onside kick- and if they were able to pick up 15 yards on one play they’d keep possession.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano reportedly brought this framework the league.
Schiano was the coach at Rutgers when Eric LaGrand was paralyzed on a kickoff play, fraturing two vertebrae and damaging his spinal cord.
The league is aware of this high-speed, high-impact human wrecks and have altered longstanding rules in recent years.
In 2011, the NFL began moving kickoffs from the 30 to 35-yard line as away to cut down on the number of high-speed collisions. While taking five yards off the running start of 250-plus pound men doesn’t sound like much, a higher number of kickoffs sail into the end zone for touchbacks, so there are fewer violent crashes.
The league also restricted the number of players on the side-by-side blocking ‘wall’ to two. Previously you could ‘wall’ block with any number of players.