See ya, Kickoff

“[A]fter 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.”

That was an idea mentioned while TIME Magazine was in the room with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and Rich McKay, head of the NFL’s competition committee. Goodell mentioned the idea, which is attributed to Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano.

This, dearest friends, is a thing that is real. It is an idea they seriously want to consider because, my God, football could hurt somebody. We can’t be having that, now, can we?

I realize the league should take care of its players. Honestly, I do. After all, if they don’t, those piggy banks in jerseys might never play again (I’m not really accusing them of greed, I promise!).

Let’s take a look at the proposal. Obstensibly, you get the same results you would from a kickoff. You punt it away and chase the ball and your opponent down. There’s still a chance to fair catch it or run it. Well, that provides the same risks, doesn’t it? There’s still a dude trying to catch a ball while trying to avoid people who want to knock him down.

They could go for the 4th-and 15 and make it. That’s kinda like the onside kick, isn’t it? They get the ball again and it’s just like they recovered their own kickoff. Or, they could fail and the other team gets good field position for the next drive.

I guess the big issue we all have, deep down, is that we really like seeing a miniature form of two armies rushing a battlefield to engage in combat. That’s exactly what a kickoff looks like. Everyone is making a hit and everyone is taking a hit. It’s glorious.

USA Today calls the idea “too gimmicky,” and I agree. Here’s their logic:

“It’s gimmicky. The NFL rarely ventures into such terrain. The revamped overtimes are a prime example. Goodell and the owners wanted no part of a college overtime system, preferring to keep the system as traditional as possible.”

That’s a pretty good way of putting it, but you know, I’m actually starting to wonder if, when we get there, it wouldn’t be an interesting thing to see.

And it’s not like kickoffs haven’t already seen change. I mean, how many more touchbacks have we been getting with the change of the kickoff position?

As it stands right now, the game appears to be under attack by those who want to “soften” it. Lots of people will claim that we’re attempting to turn it into a “wussified” game (I use that term because the term drunken football fans use is inappropriate and I have standards), and, as such, they gripe and moan.

But they’re still watching it.

And therein lies the real problem I think a lot of us have. We know we’re still going to watch it. We know we’re still going to cheer for our favorite team (which, for the most part, is the Saints, though, where I come from in the northern part of the state, some treacherous scumbags actually like the Cowboys).

So, is all the complaining worth it? Probably not, but we as a race do love to cry out against things we think are a great injustice.

Ultimately, we’re pretty helpless in what Roger Goodell does or doesn’t do to the game. We’re not, however, helpless in changing our behaviors.

That’s why I urge you all to join the one, true faith – the NCAA. Because, face it, college sports are so much better than the professional ones, right?

I mean, we all know the best part of the Superbowl is the commercials. And the best part of the National Championship game will be Nick Saban losing.


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