NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is faced with the difficult task of making an inherently violent sport
less likely to generate litigation safer for the workforce he’s sworn to exploit the fuck out of protect. As such, there’s gonna be periodic tweaks to professional footballs rules, with Time Magazine reporting that the subject of next week’s cover story is proposing eliminating kickoffs altogether. And tackling. And those angry stares Ray Lewis is always giving the cameraman. But they’ll start with kickoffs. From the Sporting News’ Clifton Brown :
Goodell has discussed placing the ball at the 30-yard line and giving the team that would have kicked off a fourth-and-15 scenario. That team would then choose whether to punt, go for a first down using a fake punt or run a conventional play.
Violent collisions between players running full speed downfield on kickoffs have concerned the league for a number of years. Goodell said the new kickoff idea came from Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano, who was Eric LeGrand’s college coach at Rutgers when he was paralyzed by a collision during a kickoff return.
Eliminating kickoffs would increase the value of punters, punt returners and punt coverage specialists, but kick return specialists would go the way of the dinosaur.