There was a report this week that National Football League commissioner Roger Goddell was considering the idea of ending kickoffs in the NFL. The talk involves having teams having a 4th and 15 from their own 30 and either going for it or punting the ball away, coming from a proposal from Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano. There is some merit to the idea, like in a situation late when a team would want to onside kick but otherwise, this is a terrible plan.
Why on earth does Goddell want to end what is arguably the most exciting part of the game? Do we really want to watch the Super Bowl start with a punt? I don’t think anyone wants that. We have watched great return men like Mel Gray, Brian Mitchell, Eric Metcalf and most recently Devin Hester get fans out of their seats with kickoffs returned for touchdowns. It is exciting, and fans don’t forget Hester bringing the opening kickoff of the Super Bowl back for a touchdown just six years ago.
There have been too many changes to kickoffs already, with kicks from the 35-yard line instead of the 30 and that has resulted in touchbacks all the time. If you are going to end kickoffs, just put the ball at the 20-yard line then. You give teams who trail late no chance to retain possession, and that’s a good way to watch fans leave stadiums early or change the channel on their TV when they know there is no chance for an onside kick. This idea just doesn’t work.
Andy Schmidt is a columnist/writer for RantSports. Follow him on Twitter @ASchmidtSports or like his Facebook page.