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: Jul 2, 2007
Posted on: August 17, 2011 12:15 pm

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

Are you 16 in your parent's basement?

What???  Did I miss something ... I remember being 16 and having my room in the basemant of MY PARENT'S home; is there something wrong with that?

Since: Sep 17, 2007
Posted on: August 17, 2011 12:13 pm

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

In response to PATSSOX07's preparation for childish spygate/Cheatriot remarks, quitewhite said:

You know whhat fans are dumber then those who do that? Fans like you who troll and incite others to do it.
Yeah, I'm sure if PATSSOX07 didn't anticipate what we see on EVERY thread related to the Patriots then morons who don't actually know anything about football and contribute nothing intelligent to any conversation like BlacknGoldPosse would be more respectful.

@ jltexas

Did the players specifically request that kickoffs be eliminated? How is this their fault because lawsuits were being filed for medical reasons? Is there really no other way for the NFL to be able to prove they're making the game safer? How about alterations to equipment? Improved health care policies? They've already gone crazy with handing out fines every time a big hit occurs, even if it isn't dirty. I think it was Myron Pryor who got fined for making a perfectly clean hit on Brett Favre last year, and several of the James Harrison fines were ridiculous, which is something I'll readily admit despite hating the Steelers. The point is they already have been making a show of improving safety but there's other ways to go about it without screwing with exciting aspects of the actual game like big hits and returns. Collisions and injuries can happen on the field on ANY PLAY. If they want to minimize injuries they may as well just make it a flag football league because this new pussified kickoff rule won't change a thing.

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."

Obviously the NFL can't come out and blatantly admit that they want to eliminate kickoffs, but that is in effect exactly what they are doing. If you create a rule that allows less returns, aren't those kicks that aren't being returned essentially being "eliminated"? I'd like to revisit this issue after the season and see some statistics showing the number of injuries sustained on kickoffs in comparison to years prior. If there is not an appreciable difference, then that will prove that this rule change was pointless.

Since: Dec 3, 2008
Posted on: August 17, 2011 12:08 pm

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs


Amen brother.

Since: Aug 24, 2006
Posted on: August 17, 2011 12:08 pm

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

Kick-offs are a huge part of the game.It gets the fans excited & there is no way the NFL should do away with them.In fact since so many kickers can kick it out of the endzone,they should kick-off from their own 25. That way the ball stays in play & the fans want to see that kind of action.There's very little excitement in watching a kicker kick it over the endzone.

If they do this, what's next?No punting?5 Downs?12 players?Of course not.Leave the game alone & let the players play it.

Since: Nov 2, 2006
Posted on: August 17, 2011 12:05 pm

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

This is getting way out of hand with the new rules. I'm tempted to give up my Pats season tickets because of NFL talk like this. It's bad enough you almost can't hit the QB hard...or that they tie Defenses hands. You think they would form a player safety committe in Rugby?

Since: Apr 21, 2010
Posted on: August 17, 2011 12:03 pm

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

Did you even listen to Jeff Saturdays comments about the the Lock Out? " If it wasn't for Robert Kraft (Owner of Patriots) there would be NO FOOTBALL you ungrateful JERK! NFL fans everywhere should be on there KNEES praising the PATRIOTS. Your problem is your JEALOUS! It's not about Bill Belichick cheating because you yourself in your life time have it be in a game, with a girlfriend or spouse, maybe your taxes, at some point you have cheated. (if you have not than I'm talking to Jesus and from reading your comments above your far from it).

The Patriots OWN your Steelers and OWN Heinze Field! The only reason the Steelers have won any SB this past decade is because your team was LUCKY enough not to have to play the Patriots in the AFC Championship that year. Patriots came clean and admitted they did wrong, they had to pay some big fines and hand the Giants the SB HOWEVER they went UNDEFEATED 
;for the season, Steelers have NEVER gone undefeated in a season and it kills you! Remember that was after week 1 of getting caught, no cameras the rest of the season and still PATRIOTS could not lose! 

The NFL handed your team the SB at the expence of the Seahawks and every NFL fan who can't stand the Steelers such as myself, so stop crying. Your QB Ben and LB Harrison are both a insult to the league and yet you support them! I'm PROUD to be a Patriot season ticket holder for nearly 20 years, I'm proud of my teams Head Coach... GREATEST EVER!! And I'm proud to say the Patriots OWN your St
eelers and will continue to do so because there is a big difference between good and GREAT!

There's only one way...THE PATRIOTS WAY!

Since: Nov 4, 2006
Posted on: August 17, 2011 12:02 pm

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

I know this is changing the subject on kick offs but... Spy Gate - Taping is illegal but BB did it anyway (so much for his arogance since his defence was weak), who cares if "everyone else was doing it too" Was there ever any verification that the taping of signals did in fact give BB an unfair advantage during that game or any other game? How is it possible to decifer the multiple signals being sent in and then relay the information during half time or at any time during a game? I am assuming teams change the signals per game (especially when the two teams play in the same division) - and assuming teams would not keep the same signals all season. Did BB ever say what he did with the taped signal calling? The QB does not have enough time to look over and read the defensive signals because he is looking at the defense and making adjustments to his line up and the head set is tunred off with 10 seconds left - how can the next play be called in time if BB is waiting on the defensive signals. Dont take this in the wrong manner - the NFL said no taping and BB did it anyway and deserved to be punished (even if it was from the jet loving Goodell) but other than taping (which was wrong) how did it give an unfair advantage to the Pats for that game or any other? I am just asking - anyone have a real answer?

Since: Sep 21, 2010
Posted on: August 17, 2011 12:01 pm

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

I am sorry but what is your point? Do you want to squash the entire play? That is what is sounds like and that is what I responded to.  Let's have a scrum like in Rugby, or maybe a faceoff like in Hockey, or maybe a play similar in soccer where the opposing team gets the ball and makes their way forward.

Since: Sep 18, 2006
Posted on: August 17, 2011 11:59 am

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

It's going to reduce injuries by reducing the number of plays on which the ball is taken back AT ALL, not by reducing the impacts when the ball is taken out of the endzone.

That said, still don't agree with it. Player safety is great and all, but there's got to be a certain level of risk acceptance. I mean, this could potentially put the guys it's intended to protect out of jobs completely. Anyone want to bet how they'd feel about that? You could reduce the number of football-related injuries by eliminating football. Is that a good idea?

I'm all for little changes that protect players. I like defenseless receiver rules. I want them to mandate safer helmets. If breaking up the wedge in a kickoff makes it less dangerous, go for it. I want to watch these guys compete at the highest level; suffering debilitating injuries that will nag them for life is not something I'm into. But I don't want them to more or less eliminate a phase of the game.

Since: Jan 1, 2007
Posted on: August 17, 2011 11:56 am

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

I love everyong calling this a "new" rule. Are you 16 in your parent's basement? 35 yard-line kickoffs is an old rule. It may only be a matter of time before it goes back to the not-so-old way of 30 yards.

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