Rand: Is the NFL really ready to kick out kickoffs?
- December 6, 2012 - 8:44 PM
SI.com, piggybacking off an interview Goodell did with Time Magazine, notes that the commish is mulling the merits of a completely new way of handling special teams. The proposal -- reportedly from Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano -- would eliminate kickoffs after scoring plays. That's not the truly odd part. Here's where it gets really weird:
Instead of a kickoff, the ball would be placed at the scoring team's 30 yard line. That team would have the option of trying to run an offensive play -- gaining 15 yards or more would give them a first down and allow them to keep the ball, while anything less would give the ball to the other team -- or punting the ball away.
Seriously. We are treating this as fact because it was reported by a very reputable outlet. But there's no way it can happen, right?
Even if there was a time when football didn't include forward passes -- we're talking decades ago, legally, and not the Vikings' game plan Sunday vs. Green Bay -- it's hard to conceive of football, as popular as it is now, changing such a fundamental part of itself in exchange for something that seems like a gimmick.
Sure, an on-side kick is a strange play -- and maybe even a play with roughly the same "success" rate as converting what would be essentially a 4th-and-15 play into a first down. But it's just ... too ... bizarre to think of football without kickoffs. It's a dangerous, violent sport. Kickoffs are a part of that. At some point, as long as football as we know it exists, we need to accept that instead of considering wacky ways to minimize it.
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