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 4, 2006
Posted on: August 17, 2011 10:59 am

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

Why even take a chance at injuring anyone?  Just place the ball on the 20 and eliminate all kick-ofs from now on.

There.  Now no once can get hurt.


(Oh, and that was sarcasm, by the way.....)

Since: Sep 16, 2006
Posted on: August 17, 2011 10:57 am

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

nepatfan ..... what do you not understand about the fact that the NFL is being forced to make the game safer by the players that are sueing them. This is the players doing. The lawsuits filed by former players because of thier injuries has forced the issue, the NFL has no choice but be able to prove in courts that they are trying to make the game as safe as possable.

Since: Sep 12, 2006
Posted on: August 17, 2011 10:56 am

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

Players to blame?
My a$$!

Name all the players and lawsuits that are currently out there against the NFL because of injuries.

Please STOP IT. I call BS!

This rule was made by overprotecting owners period.

An injury can occur on every play in the game, if these players we're all bringing lawsuits they could sue on every down.
This rule was not made because of imaginary lawsuits. Good grief.

Since: Nov 14, 2006
Posted on: August 17, 2011 10:53 am

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

Eliminate kick offs which they have done in the name of player saftey. Now that they have addressed player saftety there is no reson that they can't go to 18 games. After all they have addressed the injury issue. Logical right?

Since: Sep 12, 2006
Posted on: August 17, 2011 10:52 am

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

This is a bad rule change.

Injuries are a PART of the game.

One dumb*** poster says kickoffs are dumb an only scrubs are on special teams anyway.
If the special teams guys are only scrubs, who cares if they get injured. MORON!

Special teams are a big part of the game, taking away returns takes away from the game we all love.

I could careless if this rule was in play back in the days. Kickers TODAY have much stronger legs than they did 15 or so years ago.
Like all athletes, they have progressed.

The NFL said it's intent was to take away or lessen the injuries that occur. Ok, what about punts? Should they do away with those as well.

This whole injury s**t is getting old.

INJURIES ARE A PART OF THE F****N' GAME..................GET OVER IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Since: Sep 16, 2006
Posted on: August 17, 2011 10:52 am

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

Just about every rule change that has been made for "safety" is being made because of the players themselves. The stronger enforcement of rules regarding tackling, the horsecollar tackle rule and now the kickoff rules were all implimented because players who have been injured have or are sueing the NFL saying they do nothing to protect the players from these injuries. Does the rule changes water the game down a tad? Yeah but they really have no choice thanks to the players. Players cry about he new rules then later on they turn around and sue the NFL for not having rules to protect them. That makes a ton of sense huh.

Since: Apr 17, 2007
Posted on: August 17, 2011 10:52 am

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

I don't get one basic point:  who is lying?  Belichick or Rich McKay?  Or was Belichick just asleep during the meetings, hoping that he could just replay his hidden cameras later and find out what was really said.Undecided 

Since: May 25, 2011
Posted on: August 17, 2011 10:49 am

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

Like Bill or not, he is right on with his comment. He has a kicker in Gostkowski who led the league the last few years in kickoffs into the endzone. Kicking from the 35 , Gostkowski will be kicking into the 10th row of the stands. This is boring...there are times when you want a team to run it back because they have a pi$$poor Special Teams unit. The owners once again win in trying to protect their investments and the commish supports them as usual. Rex Ryan of the Jets was smart in letting Smith go, he doesnt need him anymore with this new ruling. I feel sorry for teams like the Bears (Hester) who now lose an important part of their offense. Let them play football...not flag football. 

Since: Jan 9, 2007
Posted on: August 17, 2011 10:48 am

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

Do away witjh holding calls and block in the back calls 1000 feet away from the play, so that kickoffs are not brought back 50% of the time. Problem solved. Oh wait, then how can u fix a point spread without a ref throwing a flag? my bad. Eliminated fumbles too. And interceptions.

Since: Oct 23, 2009
Posted on: August 17, 2011 10:45 am

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

The kickoff is the most boring play in football except for the rare long return and the rarer successful onside kick.  An onside kick from the 30 sucks because when the receiving team recovers the ball, they are almost in field goal range to start with.  And the field goal attempt is the second most boring play in football except when the game is on the line in the last seconds.  The only thing more boring than a football kickoff is the basketball jump ball which has been eliminated except for the traditional opening tip.

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