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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: Aug 22, 2006
Posted on: August 17, 2011 11:16 am

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

Belichick is a cheater, a loser, a whiner, a 100% scumbag - who should have been banned fromt he NFL. But he is the only coach who is an admitted cheater, and has endorsements, and no reprecussions for his cheating. The NFL protects those it wants to, but screws over guys it wants. Patriots are what is wrong with Pro sports. No one gets it.

Since: Jul 27, 2010
Posted on: August 17, 2011 11:12 am

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

IF the players want the NFL to stop making rule changes on the basis that it MAY help player safety, then the players union needs to stop demanding better and better benefits, year after year for retired players. The players themselves are forcing teh NFL's hand by saying, "You need to pay for all these debilitating injuries that plague us the rest of our lives." and instead of just forking over the money, the NFL is doing the "business" sensical thing and trying to prevent said injuries. If the NFL wasn't losing millions on medical expenses for retired players, lawsuits from retired players, and demands for more medical benefits, we wouldn't be seeing the rule changes.

If you want to pay less health insurance, you take risks out of your life like smoking, drinking, maybe even motorcycles and more extreme sports. If the NFL has to pay these guys for injuries sustained while playing, they are going to try to hinder the possibility of getting seriously injured. Im not saying it's a good rule, I am thoroughly disappointed with it BUT the NFL isn't grabbing rules from a hat with no basis behind the decision....the demand for more later-life care has forced the moves made.

Since: Sep 16, 2006
Posted on: August 17, 2011 11:09 am

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

nepatfan  ......................   Ytry David Givens, former WR with the Titans in September 2009 25 million lawsuit,  July 20th 2011, 75 former players suing the NFL over the head injury issue including Mark Duper, Otis Anderson, and Rodney Hampton.  In 2000, a jury awarded $1.55 million to former Chicago Bears running back Merrill Hoge in a lawsuit. famous NFL liability case occurred in 1974, when Hall of Fame linebacker Dick Butkus, a year after he retired, sued Bears 

This list can go on and on, there are so many cases that were settled out of court.  Yes its the players forcing the changes.

Since: May 30, 2008
Posted on: August 17, 2011 11:08 am

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

Jltexas hit the nail on the head. Lawsuits are to blame. Just like the bankrupted medical and social security programs, or California as a whole. Lawsuits raise costs. The NFL is looking to the future and trying to stop the billion dollar settlement they might one day face.

Since: Aug 2, 2010
Posted on: August 17, 2011 11:05 am

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

The NFL is making a big mistake - they are taking excitment away from the game....who wants to watch the start of the game where every time the receiving team starts at the 20.....Boring

Since: Aug 10, 2008
Posted on: August 17, 2011 11:04 am

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

What about placing the ball at the 25 after every score until the final 5 minutes of each half and or OT? Within 5 minutes/OT place the ball at the 30 and kickoff.

Since: May 25, 2011
Posted on: August 17, 2011 11:03 am

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

Why even take a chance at injuring anyone?

God forbid any NFL football player should get a boo boo. Soccer may be on another channel, just turn the dial if you cant stand to see a bruise. What the hell are they doing to this great sport?

Since: May 4, 2010
Posted on: August 17, 2011 11:01 am

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

How about the kicker's get over themselves and not kick out of the endzone. Attempt an ACCURATE kick to the goal line forcing a return and with the kick-off team starting 5 yards closer, focus on tackling inside the 20! Quit crying about the rule and adjust your team strategy!

Since: Aug 17, 2011
Posted on: August 17, 2011 10:59 am

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

Scratch the kick-off commercial break
The NFL will do as it wishes in regards to rules, but my biggest beef with the new kick-off rule is with the commercial break.  You know how lame it is at watching games live AND on television with all the NFL commercial stoppage.  If the number of touch backs is going to double (ore even triple) this season, why are we, the fans, expected to sit around and endure to TWO full rounds of commercial breaks for a 5 second touchback? College FB doesn't.  I mean the NFL can't have it both ways.  Well, they can, but c'mon, enough is enough.  Pretty soon they'll be breaking for commercials on penalty calls.

Since: May 25, 2011
Posted on: August 17, 2011 10:59 am

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

The only thing more boring than a football kickoff is the basketball jump ball which has been eliminated except for the traditional opening tip.

The only thing more boring in football is the touchback. It is more boring than the intentional walk in baseball. This new rule will produce more boredom than any of the other "new rules" recently institued by the NFL over the past 3-4 years. They are turnng the game into a boring NFL Pro Bowl / Flag Football type game, all in the name of protecting their other reasons. Money talks as usual.

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