Goodell Floats Schiano Idea For Kickoff Kill

December 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. 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.

28 Responses to “Goodell Floats Schiano Idea For Kickoff Kill”

  1. OptimisTroll Says:

    Sounds like a game of make it take it. There are a bunch of teams that can probably manage better than a 50% conversion rate in that situation. I don’t like it. Especially since the Bucs to covert would just hand the ball to DJ Ware and hope he picks up a first down.

    And I also think Schiano has a point about give the scoring team a better chance at recovering. Maybe the way I would implement the rule is to have regular kickoffs for the first 55 minutes of the game, and then use 4th and 15 for the last 5. That way more games can be interesting in the end. But of course there are disadvantages to that as well, perhaps making the first 3.66 quarters barely matter.

  2. SteveK Says:

    Goodell is a tyrant!

  3. thegregwitul Says:

    Schiano is really making his name known during his rookie headcoaching season. From crashing the victory formation to suggesting a change in the kickoff process, and let’s not forget the change in attitude to the Bucs as a whole. I love it.

  4. Back up kicker Says:

    I think it’s a great idea.

  5. Buc Fan #238 Says:

    This is good because it eliminates special teams play more or less and essentially. What does this mean? More depth for what matters most, the game.

    Depth? Yes, the 53 man roster will be chock full of healthy back-ups and actually improve football performance. Teams can keep more skill players vs special teams guys. Backup players can focus on honing their craft vs spending useless hours on special teams drills.

  6. Buc Fan #238 Says:

    *oops… didn’t finish the first sentence… oh well.

  7. Adam L Says:

    How about just eliminating kick-offs (from the tee) and just make EVERYTHING punts. Line up for a punt from the 40 or the 35 to start the game.

    Honestly, I miss kick returns. There is no more exciting play in sports than a kick-off return for a touchdown (maybe stealing home).

  8. Dave Says:

    How come no one ever points out the obvious in trying to reduce injuries?
    Widen the field.

    Players in every sport have gotten bigger and stronger and faster. Yet the basketballl court and the height of the basket, the NHL rink (mostly) and the football field dimensions remain the same.

    Golf has had to spend millions on courses to keep them relevant because technology, along with player size and conditioning, has made some great courses irrelevant if they did not change them.

    It seems to me that if the field was widened, say 10-15 yards, then everything would spread out more…. DBs, LBs, WRs etc… The more spread out the less chance of injury related collisions. The kickoffs and punts would be more spread out as well.

    To me, that is ALOT less drastic than eliminating the kickoff ro trying to by letting every kicker have a shot at a touchback by kicking from the 35.

    Heck, I would argue, changing the dimensions in basketball is even more necessary from a playability standpoint. They should raise the basket to 11′ and widen the court and paint area.
    Same in the NHL. Widen the rinks… more room through the middle (although the 2 line pass rule change was a great change for moving the game along through that area).

    Of course, if this was ever done, they would have to get back to letting the DBs get away with more handchecking and contact, otherwise we would end up with every game having a total of 75 points scored or more (and I like defense!)

  9. Mavsmoney Says:

    Do you know how terrible the game of basketball would be if they raised the basked a foot? Shooting a basket is a feeling mostly. The games would end up being 10-9. Terrible idea. Keep the dimensions the same damnit!

  10. Dave Says:

    The idea of the scoring team being able to go on a 4th and 15 is complete BS.

    They have already one enough to make the defenses very soft. 4th and 15 is not as hard for some teams as it would have been 10+ years ago.

  11. Rob Holiday Says:

    I think the NFL should get rid of the extra point and move the kickoff up to the 40 yard line. If the kicker can kick it through the uprights, its 1 point and the other team gets the ball at their 20 yard line. If the ball can be fielded, then the receiving team can attempt a return. This still allows an onside kick and can make returns rare. I would like to see more emphasis on the kicking game. It is called FOOTball after all.

  12. JH Says:

    I like the idea.

    It could make for more high scoring games since teams would be in better field position after the punt rather than the 20 after a touch back today.
    Although I think 15 yrds is too little. 20 would make me more comfortable.

  13. Joe Says:

    How come no one ever points out the obvious in trying to reduce injuries?
    Widen the field.

    Virtually impossible. To do this teams would have to rebuild the lower level of the stadium bowls which would cost tens of millions.

  14. Pete Dutcher Says:

    Time magazine has always been reliable…but this seems a bit farfetched. I am curious watch their sources are.

    As to changing the kickoff rules…scr3w the safety of the players. They get paid MILLIONS to compensate them for the risk. Soldiers put their lives on the line daily for next to nothing, and these people are concerned about dangers that are small in comparison.

    They keep this up and games will have to be simulated with Madden instead of actually being played.

  15. BigMacAttack Says:

    Maybe they could have guys like Shawn King just throw up a jump ball at the 50yd line and 22 players could violently charge to the center to recover it. Guys like King would not require any padding to prevent injury and if not, oh well, sorry bout your luck. Bob Costas may be a good one because he could duck below the hits, and experience the real NFL Culture first hand.

  16. Greig Says:

    I hate the idea, it’s just a move to make the run game even more of an after thought.
    Teams would build their offenses around the strongest pass game they could so that converting this 4th & 15 would come easy.
    Teams like the Pats, Saints & Pack who already have the refs in their pockets would convert every single time due to phantom PI flags on the few times their elite passing games failed to get the job done.

  17. Have A Nice Day Says:

    Horrible idea.

  18. Gus Says:

    Tell em how you really feel Joe. Lol. I agree with you 100%. I even like your changes to kickoffs. Lining up like its another play would be awesome so that kickoffs could get block and it would make the chance of a return much higher.

  19. Pruritis Ani Says:

    I think it’s an crazy idea. I do not even like the new kickoff rules where every kick seems to go out of the end zone. I think it takes away an exciting aspect of the game.

    Yes, I realize that a guy got paralyzed. That is indeed sad and tragic. However, players know when they take the field that they are putting themselves at risk for an injury. Dennis Byrd and Mike Utley were paralyzed while blocking opponents. Others have had careers ended when their knees were blown out during a tackle. It is a risk that is inherent to the game. Steps have been taken to diminish this risk through the use of better equipment, techniques and conditioning, but it can never be completely eliminated.

  20. milos81 Says:

    Rob Holliday –

    I may be wrong about this, but I think it’s called “football” because it’s played on foot (as opposed to on horseback). Has nothing to do with kicking the ball.

  21. Oahubuc Says:

    Love the idea of an un-padded Bob Costas at midfield. Hey, I have an idea: The kicking team kicks the ball from the 20 yard line and the receiving team runs it back. It’s sure to work.

  22. Zach Says:

    Schiano is going to some extreme lengths to make sure Michael Smith never sees the field.

  23. snook Says:

    Lets keep in mind that all of those players from the “glory days” of football are now suing the NFL. So don’t blame Goodell or the NFL for turning football soft. What are they supposed to do? Keep getting sued?

  24. GurS Says:

    “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.”

    Sorry, but what exactly does that have to do with football? Is this Joe trying to imply that America’s standing in the world is related to the sport? And as for the “why soccer is popular in the third world” – firstly, does that mean that in the eyes of this Joe, almost every other country on the planet is the “third world”? Because last time I checked, every European nation had “soccer” as its most popular sport, so I really don’t get the inference here. And, secondly, there is a very good reason why it is so popular in the third world – many third world countries are relatively impoverished. To play American football, you need to shell out, what, $300 on basic kit, learn all the rules, and find enough players to get a good game in? Even if you’re only talking two-hand touch, there are so many more rules in American football that have to be taken into account in even the most bare-bones backyard version of the sport. For “soccer”? Give them a ball, create a goal with two piles of anything – spare shirts, rocks, anything – and tell them “kick the ball between the two piles”. Simple. Its popularity comes from its simplicity, and the lack of equipment needed for “full scale” games compared to its American counterpart.

    Basically, that last sentence seemed really, really bizarre, and doesn’t seem to have much relevance to anything :/

  25. flmike Says:

    Pat Kirwan, who I rarely agree with had a great idea. Have a kickoff to open the halves and OT, but after a score the opposing team gets the ball at their 20, unless the scoring team declares an on-sides kick try which each team will be given an allowance of 1 per game, now this is my added thought, if you recover your on-side kick, you would be awarded with another (like coaches challenges) and so on up to say 3 (arbitrary number).

  26. Bobby Says:

    Joe, I actually think this rule would benefit a team that was down two scores and running out of time. We would have loved that rule at Carolina. Let’s face it, the only one going for it on 4th and 15 is a team behind…not ahead.

  27. lowlife Says:

    @Bobby, my thoughts exactly.
    I’m not exactly sure how this is more advantageous for the team ahead nor do I see how this makes the game “softer.” All that is happening is replacing the kickoff (which 6/10 would end up a touchback anyway) with a regular play from scrimmage.

  28. lowlife Says:

    I think the likelihood of a team converting on 4th and 15 is right around as low as recovering a wonky onside kick.