Kickoffs Should be Phased out of Football and That's Not a Bad Thing
The game of American Football is a long-standing traditional affair most of us are familiar with because its always been played a certain way with certain rules and plays that we consider "Part of the Game".....
But what if one "Part of the Game" went away?
Those who oversee the sport on both a professional and collegiate level have been looking for ways to reduce the growing violent collisions the sport is known for and one solution seems to be growing in popularity.
The reduction of...or eventual elimination of Kickoffs....in part due to plays like this:
Mind you, this won't eliminate kickoffs as they currently are constituted---you'll still see plays like this:
My gut feeling is over the next few years, College Football...and eventually the NFL will eliminate kickoffs completely. It wouldn't surprise me if punts went away too.
The reasons are pretty obvious, the idea of 200-300 pound guys running full speed into each other from 40+ yards away results in some serious collisions.
The one thing not mentioned previously, "Onside" kicks--which are often even more violent than just regular kickoffs. They are essentially one big dog pile with people launching themselves into it...
Reports say the "Frequency" of injuries on Special Teams plays is not dramatically different than any other point during the game. But...the same reports say the "Severity" or "Intensity" of those injuries increases exponentially.
Which is the big reason for the effort to find different ways to limit injuries. One of the concerns you hear the most from parents of kids who play or are interested in playing football now is "Injuries". And to keep the game fresh and vital, the leadership is going to have to come up with ways to lower or lessen the injury factor.
It will change the game and change the violence and contact associated with it which is going to piss off those who say "It's part of the Game". Which isn't incorrect. But....how do you make the adjustments to evolve a game that outside of strategy and formations hasn't changed much for generations?
How do you de-emphasize the injuries and violence while keeping the fun and excitement of Football? How do you try and take the focus away from "Concussions" and "Brain Injuries" and keep it on the field? Don't any of you sit there and say "Well, they get paid really well for it". That's not a solution. That's saying---if you're willing to take the money, deal with the repercussions...
What will be interesting to me is the birth of the AAF (New Professional Football league) which will begin play in 2019. That league will not have kickoffs at all. I'm very curious to see how that impacts the game, impacts the contact and injuries.
My guess is if successful, College Football and eventually the NFL will start dialing back kickoffs, a play un-necessary to help determine a winner and/or loser but part of the games history.
Sometimes history needs to be changed. This is one of those times....
((For more discussion on this---tune in to the OSG Sports Report Podcast which launches every Monday afternoon each week for the entire year. You can find us on I-Tunes, Stitcher and on Soundcloud))