The hot topic regarding past and present players has been concussions in football. Other injuries have been on the minds of many as well like spine injuries. Commissioner Roger Goodell and the NFL have taken steps to increase the safety of players and his current idea shouldn’t come as a surprise.
In a TIME cover story via Pro Football Zone, Roger Goodell shared his idea on increasing player safety by getting rid of the kickoff. The idea was given to him by Bucs head coach Greg Schiano.
Goodell brought up a proposal promoted by Greg Schiano, coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers: after a touchdown or field goal, instead of kicking off, a team would get the ball on its own 30-yard line, where it’s fourth and 15. The options are either to go for it and try to retain possession, or punt. If you go for it and fall short, the opposing team would take over with good field position. In essence, punts would replace kickoffs, and punts are less susceptible to violent collisions than kickoffs.
The league has done several things in the safety department to help prevent injuries. Things like fining a player for an illegal hit, throwing a flag on a defender who leads into his tackle with the crown of his helmet, and fine/flag a player for hitting a defenseless player have all been hard to accept by many fans. Some analysts have even gone as far as saying the element of “football” is being taken away.
But Goodell has shown he does not waver to outside opinions and he expresses his feelings on that to TIME’s writer Sean Gregory:
“I don’t do things for public relations, I do things because they’re the right thing to do, because I love the game. If you want to do the popular thing, be a cheerleader.”
The idea of replacing the kickoff with a “play” to either punt the ball away or keep possession will be difficult for many to accept. However, if the league moves forward with an idea such as this one, fans will adapt to it. Just like every other rule/play the NFL has implemented or changed.
(Photo Credit: AP)
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