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: Jun 20, 2011
Posted on: August 17, 2011 6:28 pm

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

start on the 20 yard line would be a game killer
A game killer? Seriously? That is a bit of an over-reaction.

I am going to watch just as much football as I did before, even with this new rule change.

And even if they did eliminate kick-offs, I would still watch.

Since: Jun 11, 2009
Posted on: August 17, 2011 6:23 pm

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

I would definitely work harder on punts (gonna be a lot more of them) and punt coverage cause kickoffs are gonna be a waste of time, except of course the commercial side of them.  Now networks won't have to worry about showing replays of good returns or hits that might cut into commercial time because there won't be any.

Since: Dec 14, 2006
Posted on: August 17, 2011 6:11 pm

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

I hate the new rule.  The game has already slowed down enough by replay and commercials that...yawn....start on the 20 yard line would be a game killer.  The league must be trying to get San Diego a chance to get to the Superbowl.  

Since: Apr 6, 2008
Posted on: August 17, 2011 6:11 pm

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

Stupid Belichick....TV won't let NFL eliminate kickoffs because then they would lose the frickin after kickoff commericals

Since: Jun 11, 2009
Posted on: August 17, 2011 6:07 pm

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

It's gonna backfire.  How many times do teams score when a drive starts from the 20 or behind, not surprisingly, a lot less often than on a short field.  Defensive teams will have a distinct advantage with this rule in play.  Offenses operate much more efficiently in the open field, not backed up in their own teritory.  Teams like the Browns with suspect offensive personnel to begin with are if they can't get decent field position from kickoffs.  Rookie QB's aren't going to air it out from their own 12 yd. line, but from the 42, a 28 yd pass that is picked off ends up at the opponents 30, not their own.  Play the good defenses and the unders early boys, you should win some $$$$$$$$$$$!  Oh yeah, and ratings should go down.  After about 4 weeks of 13 - 6 crappers, people might just start watching baseball.

Since: Aug 22, 2007
Posted on: August 17, 2011 5:43 pm

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

The only thing that slows the game down is the commercial breaks before and after kickoffs.  Those will be just as long without kickoffs.  The play itself doesn't slow anything down.  It is one of the best parts of the game.  If you have ever watched a high school football game, there is no stoppage of play, and the risk of injury on kickoffs is the same as it is for any other play.  If it really was a safety issue, it would be eliminated from youth football much sooner than in the NFL.  Think about it...

Since: Apr 16, 2009
Posted on: August 17, 2011 5:29 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Dec 10, 2007
Posted on: August 17, 2011 5:21 pm

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

Sorry, don't see how going back to the old rule eliminates kickoffs. Belichick's just whining, as usual.

Since: Jan 8, 2010
Posted on: August 17, 2011 5:20 pm

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

if they don't want any boo-boo's just make it two hand touch.  freaking sissies

Okay, let's do it your way.  "Man up" the league and make it more physical.  Perhaps you would enjoy watching teams play with a dozen or so of their star players warming the bench?

Or perhaps in the real world, the earning potential of players and teams is more important than not being a sissy.  

Boom, dude.

Since: Sep 1, 2006
Posted on: August 17, 2011 5:17 pm

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

I'd rathar see them go back to leather helmets than eliminate hits on "unsuspecting recievers" (if you are cutting across the middle of the field catching a ball you should always be expecting a hit) and kill the kickoff. 

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