Goodell floats idea to end kickoffs

Roger Goodell says the NFL Competition Committee will consider a proposal to eliminate kickoffs.

Roger Goodell says the NFL Competition Committee will consider a proposal to eliminate kickoffs.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is floating an idea to end kickoffs as a part of his effort to make football less dangerous.

Goodell mentioned the idea during an interview with Time magazine.

Under the plan, which Goodell said will be considered by the NFL Competition Committee, kickoffs would be eliminated. Instead, the team that would normally be kicking off would get the ball at its own 30-yard line. But instead of starting at first and 10, the down and distance would be fourth and 15. At that point, the team could elect to either go for the first down or punt the ball away. If the team chose to go for it and failed, the other team would get the ball at that spot.

The idea was first proposed by Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano, who was the coach at Rutgers in 2010 when defensive tackle Eric LeGrand was paralyzed during a kickoff return.

Goodell talked about the proposal before Thursday night’s Raiders-Broncos game in Oakland. “I thought it was an interesting idea,” he said. “The committee will look at it.”

The NFL has already taken steps to minimize kickoff returns. Last year the league moved kickoffs from the 30 to 35 to encourage more touchbacks and required all players on the kicking team to be within five yards of the ball.

The rule change has led to far more touchbacks. ESPN, citing the Elias Sports Bureau, said 16.4 percent of kickoffs led to touchbacks in 2010; last year it was 43.5 percent.

A similar rule change was implemented in college, but under the new rule the ball is brought out to the 25-yard line on touchbacks — previously it came out to the 20 — causing many teams to intentionally kick the ball shorter to force a return.

Some have suggested a less radical option than the Schiano plan: spotting the ball at the 15 after a touchback (and possibly kicking off from the 40), which would induce more teams to kick the ball through the end zone and virtually eliminate kickoff returns while preserving the onside kick option.

What do you think — is Goodell right to look at alternatives or are kickoffs a necessary risk of the game? What other plans can you come up with?

153 comments Add your comment

Ed Lorenz

December 7th, 2012
7:22 am

The expression rolls through my head as if my Mother is right here; “Have you lost your mind?”
NFL players don’t have to actually be in the end zone to score; many act like six-year-olds in celebrating doing the jobs they are VERY well paid to perform; and coaches whine at an incessant rate.
The kickoff and the punt return can be two of the most exciting plays in the game.
Really? Well, don’t get anything caught in your skirt, girls …

adawgfan

December 7th, 2012
7:23 am

Looks like a game could get out of hand quick. Score, other team gets the ball 4th and 15 at their 30 decides to punt. Score again, other team gets the ball and decides to go for it and fails. The team leading 14 -0 gets the ball in field goal range again? How about letting the team start 3rd and 20 at the thirty. At least give em two downs. 4th and 15 seems a bit of a steep hill to climb, just after the other team has scored.

c u later

December 7th, 2012
7:23 am

First?? Seems to me the idea of starting with a 4th and 15 at the 30 just reverses the strategy of kicking vs receiving. Who would elect to go for it at that stage of the game and risk a huge momentum issue from the very start. The on side kick strategy is important to retain on kickoffs so I would say leave it as it is.

BullFrog

December 7th, 2012
7:24 am

BusterT123

December 7th, 2012
7:24 am

Am I reading this wrong. The team gets the ball on their own 30 and it’s 4th and 15 instead of a kickoff? So the team whoo just scored or was kicking off at the beginning of the game or after halftime would start onn defense with the other team having 4th and 15 and if they hold them, they get the ball right there??? Please clarify…

Badell

December 7th, 2012
7:25 am

4th and 15 definitely won’t fly. Why not have them play a board game version of football. They all line up at the 50 yard line and simulate the action. Or better yet, let the computers do simulated games and post the results. That way no one gets hurt. Oh, I forgot about carpel tunnel syndrome!

WinderDawg

December 7th, 2012
7:26 am

Why don’t they just flip a coin and see who wins? The games would go by fast.

Fleischman in Chi Towns Bed

December 7th, 2012
7:27 am

Nick Saban and ALABAMA ended the pups season.

Jerry

December 7th, 2012
7:29 am

Do it! I would rather see a game with less injuries, longer careers and more strategic play calling. Preserving the on side kick has merit.

slobberknocker

December 7th, 2012
7:29 am

LOL, why not just put the teams in different rooms with big screen tv’s and play stations and let em duke it out and while they are at it give em some HOHOs and Twinkies.

Browncoat

December 7th, 2012
7:32 am

Just have one person from each team play the game on Madden.

msouther

December 7th, 2012
7:33 am

another example of the liberalization of football. lets make sure they all get trophies for participating after the season. sad.

Ima Jokin

December 7th, 2012
7:34 am

I think this is a great idea. I also think sliding and diving should be eliminated from baseball. Take away all fences so players don’t crash into them OR any fly ball to the outfield is a home run. But back to football. Eliminating kickoffs is a great way to reduce injuries. Lets go further and say that any run longer than 10 yards is an automatic touchdown. How many snapped ankles will be eliminate with that rule?

Let’s just go the whole way and turn it into FLAG FOOTBALL and be done with it.

chris

December 7th, 2012
7:36 am

terrible idea!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Denny

December 7th, 2012
7:36 am

The biggest waste of time in football is the time between a score and the next play from scrimmage. {Score – long commercial break – kickoff – another long commercial – teams slowly move onto the field for the 1st down play]. Just give the offensive team the ball somewhere [the 15 yard line, the 18, 20, 22, 25] just somewhere and let the game move on. Maybe then we could play a 60 minute game in 3 hours.

Dontavius Supremo

December 7th, 2012
7:38 am

Coin toss, the winner gets to choose offense or defense. Play begins at the twenty, first and ten. Main problem: this eliminates the on-side kick. Solution: Ideas?

NFL rules!

December 7th, 2012
7:44 am

Bad idea, Goodell. All kickoffs can be fair caught and downed, so the better plan is to teach your return guys when to go for it and when to signal a fair catch.

Dave in Marietta

December 7th, 2012
7:45 am

Seems like an improvement to me. The 4th and 15 try retains the excitement of the on-side kick, or if they punt at least we get a return. The current system of endless touchbacks is pretty weak. Plus less injuries, win-win-win.

NO WAY

December 7th, 2012
7:49 am

Goodell will ruin football.

Michlle

December 7th, 2012
7:52 am

First of all for the idiot Bama fan your comment has nothing to do with this. But thank you for showing your ignorance!
As for the actual subject here. I was a cheerleader growing up who cheered because they wouldn’t let girls play football. So i actually love the game. To take away the kickoff is crazy stupid! As for safety be firm on consequences for those who put a dangerous hit on someone and let them play. This game began without all the helmets and pads that we have today! And i bet those guys are rolling in there graves at the thought of this sissy idea!

kman

December 7th, 2012
7:55 am

Football should be renamed softball. Let’s go back to the original hash marks, no ground causing fumbles. no silly flag on the end zone….and do away with ALL celebrations! You play, you risk getting hurt….it’s a mans game (or was)……..George Halas must be flipping in his grave.

Jock Sniffer

December 7th, 2012
7:55 am

Ain’t it great to waste our time discussing sports instead of how our country is going down the toilet.

Relationship Expert

December 7th, 2012
8:02 am

Kick off and Return Teams could be reduced to fewer players, say seven, from the current eleven players per Team spread over the field. Fewer players on the field means fewer blocks and likely fewer tackles and more points scored. The on side kick is preserved.

A Weiss

December 7th, 2012
8:02 am

Use shoes that slow down the speed of the game on Kickoffs. It is the speed and size of these players causing the injuries.

charles from Litonia

December 7th, 2012
8:05 am

Is Goodell on CRACK?….This man is ruinning football……Its a dangerous game true enough…but the people who play it know that…..Now he wants to get rid of the kickoff…Whats next….putting flags on the quarterback so he doesnt have to get hit? Or telling cornerbacks to two handtouch recievers on there back…instead of delivering a bone crushing tackle? Goodell is absolutely killing the game we love…

Independent

December 7th, 2012
8:07 am

Sounds like professional football is trying to take lessons from the hags in PTA and the school systems. Dodgeball…way too dangerous. Scissors…dangerous weapon. Tag…lowers self esteem.
The wussification of America continues. While it is tragic that a few players have suffered irreversible injury, there are occupations that people do for a lot less money where they have suffered the same unfortunate results. I suppose there’ll soon be proponents for moving to nerf balls and bats in baseball since a few pitchers and batters have been struck in the head.

Fan of Old Football

December 7th, 2012
8:08 am

It seems rather idiotic to start 4th and 15. That’s probably the same reason the other team decided to punt! Then you want to place the ball on the 30. I can see it now, final score; N.O. Saints 73 Atlanta Falcons 128.

Ghost

December 7th, 2012
8:14 am

Goodell is an idiot! I can’t believe he’s going to be around for another 10 years!

The Truth

December 7th, 2012
8:15 am

Sunday afternoon I was watching (catching) a commercial and an nfl game broke out. Pretty funny.

Atomic Dawg

December 7th, 2012
8:24 am

This guy is an idiot. We must get him out of the chair. At this rate the game will be played like a bunch of wussies!!!!!!! In the next 15 years it will be flag football league and you cant touch the other team with your hands. You will have to shield block with your hands behind your back.

ctfalconsfan

December 7th, 2012
8:30 am

When is Goodell going to be replaced?

- Why doesn’t he skip all these baby steps and just make this a flag football league..

psycho

December 7th, 2012
8:31 am

why not spot the ball on the 25 and just go from there. 1st and 10.

MT

December 7th, 2012
8:33 am

It would be the death of football as we know it. Terrible idea, a kickoff return for a TD is one of the most exciting plays in football. It will ruin football just as sure as elimnating Home Runs in baseball.

Esquire

December 7th, 2012
8:36 am

Dave in Marietta
December 7th, 2012
7:45 am

Seems like an improvement to me. The 4th and 15 try retains the excitement of the on-side kick, or if they punt at least we get a return. The current system of endless touchbacks is pretty weak. Plus less injuries, win-win-win.
**************************************************

Lucy, you got some splainin’ to do.

There would be no chance for an onside kick. You have to punt or go for it.

Esquire

December 7th, 2012
8:37 am

Let’s remove the facemask off of the helmets.

Spike

December 7th, 2012
8:37 am

WinderDawg,,,great idea!! Flip a coin to see who wins. That way, the teams don’t even have to ’suit up’ or better yet just send the captains to the stadium to do the deed.
Also, this way we can all get back to doing REAL work and get our butts off the couch, our mouths off the brewskies, and our hands out of the chip bowl. Just think of all the work around the house/car maintenance or shopping at the mall that would occur. Talk about a big boost to the economy! What do all think?

MT

December 7th, 2012
8:42 am

America’s favorite game is quickly eroding. I mean I know some things need to change for safety, but common on, take something out of the game that’s been since its inception, something that adds the excitment level that it does, to eliminate it. Get real. No wonder rugby questions our game. Though
rugby don’t allow blocking and you have to shoulder tackle, its still played without pads in shorts.

Mark the Shark

December 7th, 2012
8:49 am

4th and 15, to start a drive after a kickoff, is ludicrous. This is football, not tiddly winks. Like any job in any profession, you enter into it and take the risks. This is real life NFL, not a fantasy.

MT

December 7th, 2012
8:53 am

kman
How about,clothes line tackles, horse collars. crackback blocks, head slaps, forearms,bring back helmet to helmet hits and any other thing that was legal in 1970.

Dolly Parton's Package

December 7th, 2012
8:55 am

LOL… Why don’t they just put Cheerleading uniforms on all the Professional Players? Like someone said on here earlier, the players are getting ridiciously high incomes to play a kid’s sport, and there are several individuals who have jobs that are far more dangerous (life threatening) than Professional Ball Players and getting paid a whole lot less….. As my old coach would say, take a salt pill and go to work!!!!

My Two Cents

December 7th, 2012
8:55 am

I am sorry that players get hurt. However, when they sign up for the job they know there are risks and are handsomely paid for those risks. The post play hits and the team members celebrating by bumping each other is also risky but those actions are the players’ choices. I wonder if the bean counters and the insurance companies are ultimately behind this proposal. Too, we as a society have to be politically correct so we don’t hurt anyone or their feelings.

What next?

December 7th, 2012
8:58 am

Why even have teams? Just televise the games played out on a game consol. No injuries, low cost, no fans!

Rock Gaines

December 7th, 2012
9:03 am

I don’t like Schiano’s idea at all (many of you are shooting the messenger, Roger Goodell). I’m not for eliminating kickoffs. If the NFL wants to reduce the amount of kickoffs further, then allow kickoffs at the beginning of the game, start of the second half, and start of overtime. Since the fourth quarter is when many games are decided, allow kickoffs in the fourth quarter and overtime. At other times, after scores of field goals and touchdowns, it’s an automatic touchback, first and 10 from the 20 yard line.

One other thing, the NFL will never be a “flag football” league. Understand that the NFL is under huge pressure to make the game safer because of all of the lawsuits from retired players in regards to concussions and cumulative brain injuries.

Norman Cochran

December 7th, 2012
9:04 am

That idea just totally stinks!! Football has been and will continue to be a violent game. No one forces someone to play football, everyone who plays understands the issues that could happen. To limit the action of the game changes the who facet of the game. There are fumbles, tackled prior to 20 yard line, and the all elusive score from a kickoff. So put that idea back in the pack and look for safety elsewhere.

BubblesB

December 7th, 2012
9:05 am

Oh, don’t stop there. Get rid of tackles, too. Better yet – let’s just become Flag Football teams and get it over with.

'Rammer Jammer' Al A. Bammer

December 7th, 2012
9:07 am

Sick and tired of NFL shenanigans as well as all other pro sports. Think I’ll go watch some paint dry.

Seriously...

December 7th, 2012
9:09 am

I cannot believe what football has come to – total “wussification”. I am all for trying to minimize injuries, but this is getting crazier by the day. It is turning into a powder puff game. NHL – PLEASE get the hockey situation straightened out so we can watch a real physical game!

Susan

December 7th, 2012
9:10 am

Will the name be changed to wussball?

Rock Gaines

December 7th, 2012
9:11 am

I’m also for the players wearing all of the pads available to them. Starting next year, all NFL players will be required to wear knee and thigh pads. Let’s go further and make them wear hip pads and mouthpieces. Also make sure the best, safest helmets are being used. Technology has progressed to the point where pads can be very light, and can absorb a lot of shock. Mouthpieces can help the jaw stay in place when you’re hit.

Braves #17 Fan

December 7th, 2012
9:11 am

Everyone knows you punt on 4th and 15 inside your own territory. I don’t see any teams going for it. If you’re going to do away with kickoffs, just put it on the 20-yard line.