Blog Entry

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

Posted on: August 17, 2011 8:48 am
BelichickPosted by Josh Katzowitz

With the new NFL rules stating that kickoffs are to be taken from the 35-yard line instead of the 30 -- though the Bears didn’t feel they needed to follow that rule, since apparently they wanted to work on their kickoff coverage -- it seems pretty clear the NFL wants to reduce the number of returns that can be taken.

In fact, as we wrote last March, the reason the rules competition committee wanted to make the change in the first place was because of safety concerns. But according to Patriots coach Bill Belichick, the league has an ulterior motive for making the change to kickoff placement.

The NFL wants to eliminate kickoffs entirely.

During a session with the media Tuesday, one questioner, according to CSN’s Tom E. Curran, began a query this way: “If the intention of the NFL is eliminate kickoffs …” Belichick quickly interrupted.

"That's what they told us," Belichick said. "I'm not speaking for anyone else. That's what they told us, that they want to eliminate the play."

Which would fundamentally change the game in a way that is not completely impossible to fathom but which critics could claim also turns the NFL into more of a flag football league. Even if that supposed philosophy never comes to pass, Belichick talked about the current system, in which teams might build rosters differently if kickoff returners won’t make as much of an impact.

"If, instead of covering 60 kickoffs in a year you think you're only going to be covering 30, then is that coverage player as important, or -- on the flip side of it -- is the return game?" Belichick asked (presumably in the rhetorical sort of way). "If you're going to be returning 30 instead of 60, are the guys who block on the kickoff return (as important)?  If you think you're going to be returning more punts than kickoffs (there's a decision to weigh). Usually you're going to be returning more kickoffs than punts but if you think you'll be returning more punts than kickoffs, then maybe you put more of a priority on your punt returner than your kickoff returner."

To be fair, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello had this to say to CSN regarding Belichick’s claim that the league wants to squash kickoffs: "(Chairman of the Competition Committee) Rich McKay and (NFL Vice President) Ray Anderson say that’s not accurate. They said the Competition Committee’s position was that they wanted to 'shorten the field' and that the movement of the kickoff line would potentially reduce the number of kickoffs to be returned. They said they are unaware of anyone saying that it was intended to 'eliminate' the kickoff return."

But if that was the case and the NFL really does want to eliminate kickofs, you can bet teams like the Bears (because of KR Devin Hester), Browns (because of Josh Cribbs) and the Seahawks (because of Leon Washington) who are already not pleased with the new rules will be really, really unhappy.

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Since: Sep 14, 2006
Posted on: August 17, 2011 1:28 pm

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

How does college football survive with kickoffs?  Maybe the NFL should keep the kickoffs but limit the players on there to being from only certain smaller positions (DB, WR, RB) to reduce the impact of the tackles.  The commercial break is bad enough after a score, now they toss in a meaningless play between 5 minutes of commercials.  ZZZZZZZ  Tackles I get, kickoffs I don't...eliminating the wedge worked wonders, why ruin it with this idiotic non-play, 7th innning stretch, after every score?

Since: Nov 9, 2006
Posted on: August 17, 2011 1:18 pm

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

Hopefully this is an upstairs review, without having to have the official go under the hood. That is the worst thing about replay, just have an official upstairs look at the play and keep the field officials on the field.

Since: Sep 2, 2006
Posted on: August 17, 2011 1:17 pm

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

Eliminate the most exciting play in football???? (aka. the kick-off returned for a TD)....nice call knuckleheads. If they keep going down this path, along with the other "pampering" changes they have made, these "guys" won't even have to wear pads to play anymore....just bright pink panties.

This is getting ridiculous....they are taking the Football out of Football....

Since: Mar 17, 2009
Posted on: August 17, 2011 1:07 pm

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

Make it a penalty to kick the ball in the endzone on a fly, kickers can adjust to kicking the ball higher.

Since: Jun 1, 2011
Posted on: August 17, 2011 1:05 pm

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

Goodell is the worst thing to happen to the NFL. He is a scumbag loser.  This might as well be flag foot. 

Since: Jan 22, 2007
Posted on: August 17, 2011 1:03 pm

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

"How does the competition committee think this shortens the field?  If you ask me, the field just became longer when the majority of kickoffs result in touchbacks."

Let me type really slow for you. A kickoff from the 30 has to travel 70 yards to enter the opposite end zone. A kickoff from the 35 has to travel 65 yards to enter the opposite end zone. Are you still with me? In my world, 65 is less than 70 ... hence a shortened field. Most times when a kickoff is fielded in the end zone it is downed.There will be a lot less kicks fielded inside the 10 so the field is overall shorter.

Since: Apr 19, 2008
Posted on: August 17, 2011 1:02 pm

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

I don't like this idea that the NFL is considering cutting out kick off's.  I know they claim that's not what they are doing but it's what they want to do.  There is nothing like the opening kick off of a football game.  There's a certain magic to it.  It has helped to define the greatness that surrounds football.  I understand they are trying to make the game safer but there has to be a better way.  To me, even moving the kick off to the 35-yard line is neutering the game.  Make a better helment, make better pads.  Do something that adds to the game not takes away from it.  This is very sad.

Since: Jan 11, 2009
Posted on: August 17, 2011 1:01 pm

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

I remember going to Panther games and hearing Welcome to The Jungle and Cat Scratch fever balsting right before the kickoff and I would have goose bumps from head to toe! It's the most exciting moment of the game! Especially if your team proceeded to get their butt waxed after that! Enough is enough! You absolutely cannot do away with kickoffs!

Since: Dec 3, 2008
Posted on: August 17, 2011 12:48 pm

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

The game is gonna be more boring then baseball now and for what?
So that they can squeeze in a couple more commercials so they can get more ad revenue.

Hey guys did you forget about the other awful rule change that nobody is talking about?


Since: Sep 11, 2006
Posted on: August 17, 2011 12:47 pm

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

It's not Goodell implementing the changes...its the owners...remember he works for them

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