Goodell Floats Schiano Idea For Kickoff KillDecember 6th, 2012
First, let Joe go on the record to say that the following idea of a massive change to eliminate the NFL kickoff is ridiculous.
That written, it’s interesting that NFL lockout general/commissioner Roger Goodell is publicly floating this possibility, which, per TIME magazine (does anyone under the age of 68 read that anymore?), comes from Greg Schiano.
ProFootballTalk.com laid out the premise from a recent TIME cover feature on Goodell.
Sean Gregory of TIME writes that one of the options being considered for replacing kickoffs entails giving the ball to the team that would have been kicking off at its own 30, automatically facing a fourth down and 15 yards to go. The team can then choose to punt or go for it, via fake punt or otherwise.
In other words, the kickoff would be replaced with the punt, and the onside kick would be replaced with a fourth-down conversion roughly half the distance of Ray Rice’s recent catch-and-run.
Joe hates this idea because it gives the ball back to the offense after a score, which is complete garbage on so many levels. Goodell needs to stop messing with football. It’s always going to be a violent game, otherwise it would be a different sport.
Now Joe knows why Schiano is of this mindset. Eric LeGrand was paralyzed on a kickoff when Schiano coached him at Rutgers.
With apologies upfront — Joe is not trying to be insensitive whatsoever — this is like suggesting decapitations to eliminate head colds. Eliminating kickoffs from the game will dramatically, drastically alter the game of football and may just help push more people away from the game.
Without kickoffs, if a team is down two scores late, they are pretty much screwed.
Kickoffs can easily be tinkered with in order to keep injuries down. How about altering the current rule where kickoff return men cannot move forwards at the moment of the kick?
Instead of having everyone backpedal to try to set up a wedge, allow kickoff return men to attack the kickoff team so that these guys don’t all have 40-yard sprints in order to launch themselves into the return team?
Or how about having a normal line of scrimmage on a kickoff, like a punt? There could still be onside kicks in this format, and how crazy would it be to be able to block a kickoff?
Joe understands totally where Schiano is coming from and there is a sense of nobility in his efforts. But football is a physical game. Always has been. The game has been watering down to the point of being unrecognizable. Currently, when Joe sees a big hit, he starts looking for a yellow warning sign on his TV indicating there is a flag for this nonsense “defenseless player” BS.
Hey man, if you are on the field and you have your chin strap buckled, you are not defenseless. That’s BS peewee/seven-on-seven caca; not football!
All of this BS about making the game safer is nothing more than Goodell trying to lessen the chances of the NFL getting sued and keeping insurance premiums down, not unlike years ago when states were strong-armed by the feds to require mandatory seat belts laws or have their federal funds earmarked for transportation costs withheld.
These laws, smart that they are, were passed by the U.S. Congress not so much driven by common sense but as the result of successful lobbying efforts by insurance agencies.
Football is football and the last time Joe remembered someone dying on an NFL field was Chuck Hughes of the Lions some 51 years ago — and that was from a heart attack as he ran to the sidelines after an incomplete pass, NOT from contact.
Should safety be a concern in the NFL? Absolutely. But this can be accomplished without destroying the game Americans crave, and turning it into flag football.
There is a reason why soccer is popular in the third world. The status of America as a great nation has eroded somewhat in recent years. Let’s not plunge ourselves to these depths just to save a few dollars in insurance costs.