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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: Apr 4, 2010
Posted on: August 18, 2011 12:49 am

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

Kickoffs were always from the 35 yard line until about 20 years ago when they moved it back 5 yards with the hope of getting more returns. Now they want less returns again. No biggie. It's back to where it should be.

Since: Mar 6, 2009
Posted on: August 18, 2011 12:48 am

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

goodell stinks for this to even come up is silly and it would come from someone that never played in the league. 

Since: Mar 20, 2010
Posted on: August 18, 2011 12:04 am

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

I'll bet you see more high kickoffs with kickers trying to get it between the 5 and 1 yard lines. The result will be more returners getting blown up as coverage teams have more players in position to make stops, and thus MORE injuries, not less.

Since: Feb 15, 2008
Posted on: August 17, 2011 11:55 pm

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

booth reviews of every score is the worst thing yet!!

Since: Aug 17, 2011
Posted on: August 17, 2011 11:41 pm

Sad times upon us...

The rule changes need to stop. 1. Eliminate the kick offs???? ....are special teams being removed from the game now???? 2. Booth review of every score???? ....seems like just another excuse for a commercial spot.... 3. Arbitrary fines???? players fined $x and the next $y! Suh drew a questionable penalty... ok, but a freggin fine???? 4. Complex rules on tackling???? ....which creates pure subjectivity that not even experienced referees agree on interpretation! 5. What's next eliminate the refs off of the field???? ....we all know this one's coming... every play will be reviewed!!!!! Basically the NFL sadly seems to becoming more like a reality series focused on maximizing advertising venues, and less about sport ever since Goodell has taken over; If Goodell was trully an advocate of NFL football, the league would initiate a legitimate disaplinary board comprised of referee/coach/player/nfl representatives who would establish a proper standard of enforcement and penalty and offer an accepted appeals process.

Since: Oct 15, 2006
Posted on: August 17, 2011 11:30 pm

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

Ahhh...the Spygate thing is years old. Get on to new topics.

Since: Sep 12, 2006
Posted on: August 17, 2011 11:18 pm

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

Get Goodell out of there before he completely ruins this game.

Since: Dec 31, 2008
Posted on: August 17, 2011 10:46 pm

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

hopefully teams just tell their kickers to take a little off the kick and place it around the 1-5 yard linr or partially in the endzone

Since: Oct 19, 2007
Posted on: August 17, 2011 10:27 pm

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

Squash belichick the cheater now that is an idea I can get on board with. What they ought to do is disallow all of his tapings of the steelers and jets defence signals and then him and Brady would look like the chumps they are instead of the champs people in new england think they are!

Since: Nov 26, 2006
Posted on: August 17, 2011 10:12 pm

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

What's the big deal? 10 years ago they kicked off from the 35 yard. Everyone bitched and complained about too many touchbacks. Now they what more touchbacks. Give'm 10 more years and you won't be able to tackle at all. Pu__ies.

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