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 25, 2009
Posted on: August 17, 2011 9:48 am

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

Kickoffs are dumb anyway.  It also was at the 30 yard line in the past, I think up to 94 at least.  There were still kickoffs then.

Since: Mar 19, 2007
Posted on: August 17, 2011 9:48 am

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

I believe you are mistaken in who was actually the worst last year, but you had the right division. I could've sworn I saw Texans as the worst. I have as much sources to back me up as you do, though.

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: August 17, 2011 9:43 am

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

As hard as it is I have to give Bill credit for speaking up. This rule is terrible, I have not heard on person, player, coach or fan that likes the new rule. How did it come into play and why is it not being reversed before the season starts? It is obvious that NOBODY wants it. If the league truly is looking to tweak itself to make a better product they should fix this "fix" before the season starts and it becomes a problem. I believe guys can get hurt easier now if you kick it fairly high and a bit shorter. If an inexperience guy is looking up at the ball to catch it think of the hammer that is going to come down on him. Guys are going to close much quicker, the best kickoff now is to drop it around the goal line, guys are getting there before returners make the 10yd line.

Since: Jan 7, 2007
Posted on: August 17, 2011 9:39 am

I wouldn't mind

This benefits the Colts more than any other team since they have the worst special teams in the league.  I guess this won't stop the Patirots fans who think every rule change is because Bill Polian asked for it.  The Colts had the worst starting position in the league last year (I think it was somewhere around the 15), and also allowed the best starting position for the opponents (somewhere around the 35).  It was a long kickoff return that allowed the Jets to beat them in the playoffs last season (and a stupid timeout call) after the Colts hit what should have been the game winning FG.

Since: Apr 5, 2007
Posted on: August 17, 2011 9:32 am

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

You know whhat fans are dumber then those who do that? Fans like you who troll and incite others to do it.

Since: Apr 30, 2007
Posted on: August 17, 2011 9:24 am

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

Ok, It's a article where Belichick is referenced.. so cue the a-hole fans from the Steelers , Jets, etc.. "Belicheat, Cheatriots etc..." Cmon guys, I know you want to. Even though in 2000, The Jets did everything in their power preventing Belichick from going to NE.

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