The kickoff is as big a part of football as the pass or the run, at least from a traditional sense. But the NFL could eventually remove the kickoff from the game, NFL VP of Football Operations Troy Vincent admitted recently.

Vincent, appearing on "The Dan Patrick Show," was asked whether the NFL would consider getting rid of the kickoff (and, apparently, punts?) as it examines safety data and tries to improve the game. 

He said the league has "talked about it at length" and it could very much be something the league looks at in the future despite "resistance" from many traditional football people involved in the game.

"We talked about it at length, yesterday, frankly all over the weekend. When you just look at the medical data -- and I would tell you the team of Jeff Miller and Dr. Seals -- the data we now collect, with the data, the research, the science, the video tying all those things together. As you know, I'm a traditionalist, and many of us in the room are traditionalists," Vincent said. "There are three phases of the game, offense, defense and special teams. To just think about the removal of not having that kickoff return part of the game, there's resistance. But we understand we're at a place -- college football is adjusting, high school, at the Pee Wee level. We are going to address some of those issues that we see in the kickoff."

Additionally, Vincent said the league would put together a "a group" following next week's owners' meetings to sit down and figure out what is and what is not a catch. 

"We're going to put a group together immediately after the owners' meeting, coming to New York and really discuss," Vincent continued. "We have to do something about that play. The spacing and the contact that's being made on the punt return. The injuries, both soft tissue and head injuries that occur. The future ... it could be, it could be something we have to examine."

It sounds like -- listen for yourself below -- that Vincent is basically admitting there's a good chance the NFL will be forced to get rid of kickoffs at some point in the near future. 

The NFL official and former defensive back wouldn't go so far as to say it'll be eliminated right away, and said there will not be a vote next week on the kickoff issue. 

Here's the reality: it's a dangerous play that puts lots of players at risk for minimal gain, especially when most of these kickoffs end up being touchbacks at this point anyway. 

The league took enough kickoff returns off the table previously that continuing to have them at all almost feels excessive. Plus, commercials are annoying. Move past the kickoff and get on with the game. 

Even though getting rid of kickoffs will inspire a host of angry "they're makin' football SOFT!" opinions from people who dislike change, it's probably something that is going to happen in the near enough future.