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: Mar 1, 2007
Posted on: August 17, 2011 2:07 pm

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

 Maybe we should join the rest of the world in calling soccer  "futbol"   since they will be taking the foot out of the game.  While they are at it,  get rid of PATs and make them always go for 2.    Oh yeah, get rid of FGs too.    Oh yeah,  since there are no punters in the HOF, might as well dump that unimportant part of the game too.
    Oh, I forgot, you can't do all the above, because it would really knock the heck out of the Super Bowl block pools.  But Commish,  no one gambles on the super bowl,  they watch for the game itself, right?

Since: Aug 25, 2008
Posted on: August 17, 2011 2:04 pm

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

They used to wear lether helmets as well but we progressed to the place we are today. Kickoffs did add a special quality to the game and the betting world. No one in Vegas this year is going to take the 50-1 kickoff return at the beginning of the superbowl. The kickoff is a great part for the fans and can be very exciting but the game itself it isnt that big of an issue other then field position. It does stink for the fans and returners in the business. Lets not even talk about the teams that locked up special team specialists only to have them made pointless. Sorry so short at work!

Since: Jan 22, 2007
Posted on: August 17, 2011 2:04 pm

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

Eliminating kickoffs is the dumbest thing I've heard out of the current NFL regime: manages to edge out what Goodell said a few years ago about eliminating the three point stance. The man is slowly but surely eroding the game.

Since: May 6, 2008
Posted on: August 17, 2011 2:03 pm

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

I think this rule is going to have the reverse affect on what the league intended.  Now kickers are going to try to kick the ball with a longer hang time, at a shorter distance while giving the kicking team a 5 yard advantage....hmmmm does that make things "safer"??? 

Since: Sep 25, 2006
Posted on: August 17, 2011 1:48 pm

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

Someone please fire these idiots like Goodell. They were gift wrapped a cash cow that gets huge ratings but instead the idiots have this incessant need to "innovate".  Maybe they think they can grow "revenue streams" by stealing the Super Bowl from the American public and forcing it on a London audience that could care less. Or maybe they're trying to cover their behinds by getting ahead of the curve with all these wussy rules. Either way they need to just STOP already before they ruin a good thing.

Since: Jan 2, 2010
Posted on: August 17, 2011 1:48 pm

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

I love football period, but the most exciting thing about the game is kick and punt returns IMO. Watching guys take one back is more exciting than 90% of the plays that happen in any given year. NFL is getting too soft.

Since: Mar 17, 2007
Posted on: August 17, 2011 1:46 pm

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

They used to kick off from the 40.

Since: Dec 25, 2006
Posted on: August 17, 2011 1:34 pm

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

Remember the short lived XFL and what they did instead of kickoffs? Yell

Since: Dec 25, 2006
Posted on: August 17, 2011 1:32 pm

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

Is it coincidence, though, or not, that the Pats have failed to win a playoff game since?

Well they've won a hell of alot of games in general since then.

Stealing signals is legal, but videotaping the sidelines is illegal. There are other legal and equally effective ways to steal signals besides videotape. With this being an indisputable fact ...

When it comes to spygate, i wish people would ask themselves this question ...

How can you say that the Patriots gained an unfair advantage over others that directly led to their success, if others could legally and easily acquire the same information about them?

On the other side of the coin, when I was in Maine last year I found some very knowledgeable Pats fans who were happy to finally be successful after so many years of futility and appreciated their success.
I think that most long time Patriots fans are just like those people. Maybe not the teens and 20 somethings of today. The Patriots have been successful most of THEIR lives. I'm 39 and remember all that futility and appreciate the modern day team.

After spending my life watching the 49ers, Cowboys, etc with their success, I always asked, why not us? My football dreams have finally come true. But since that question I posed above really can't be denied, it is extremely frustrating to think that millions of non fans believe what they believe about the team. Questioning the legitimacty of their success? If you hate them because they're good ... then fine. But condider my question and think about it.

It's easy to run your mouth at someone on a message board (done by Patritos fans and all fans). All things considered, aggressive, nasty talk about spygate can bring this out of people. But as we all know, there are plenty of generally obnoxious jerks out there.

Since: May 6, 2009
Posted on: August 17, 2011 1:28 pm

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

I know how under-rated kickoff returns are in football, but they are very important in the game. Sometimes it decides wins and losses.

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