(NEW YORK) — The NFL may be taking another drastic move to improve player safety. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is considering the elimination of kickoffs.
Goodell along with Rich McKay, the head of the NFL’s competition committee, discussed the idea and feel that it could become a reality.
Instead of kicking off, a team would have the ball at their own 30-yard line in a fourth-and-15 situation. The team would punt the ball away, or go for it to replace the onsides kick. If it failed to get a first down, the opposing team would have favorable field position.
“I belive that day will come,” Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano told ESPN the Magazine of the possibility of elimination kickoffs. “Unfortunately, it will probably take more players being seriously hurt. But I think there’s another way to do this.”
Last season, the NFL moved kickoffs from the 30-yard line to the 35-yard line and also required the coverage unit to start within five yards of the ball, which closes the distance between the teams.
It seems to have worked so far. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, 16.4 percent of kickoffs led to a touchback in 2010, last year it was 43.5 percent.
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