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Shanahan Prefers Current Kickoff Rules

Posted by Andrew Walker on December 7, 2012 – 3:28 pm

(AP photo)

(AP photo)

National Football League commissioner Roger Goodell recently brought up the idea of eliminating kickoffs from NFL games as a safety measure.

The idea was proposed by Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano, who had a player paralyzed during a kickoff while he was head coach at Rutgers in 2010.

It’s certainly an interesting topic, especially when you think about how the league could possibly replace kickoffs. According to TIME Magazine, instead of a kickoff after a touchdown or field goal, a team would get the ball on its own 30-yard line, where it would face a 4th-and-15 situation. From there, the team has the option to punt or to go for it to retain possession of the ball. If there is a turnover on downs on the play, the opposing team gets the ball with very good field position.

Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan was asked about the proposal to eliminate kickoffs, and said it’s certainly an interesting avenue for the league to explore.

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Player Safety Justifies Kickoff Rule Change

Posted by Brian Tinsman on March 27, 2012 – 11:59 am

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With several hot-button issues on the docket for this week’s NFL Owner’s Meetings in Palm Beach, Fla., the NFL took pause to celebrate an issue they resolved in last year’s meetings: player safety on kickoffs.

Under the old rules, the defending team kicked the ball off from the 30-yard line, and defenders could run from as far back as the 15-yard line, building up a full head of steam before the ball was kicked off.  On the receiving side of the ball, teams were permitted to block with a “wedge”: three players who could link arms in an ultimate game of Red Rover.

Although some of the most exciting plays in a football game, kickoffs were responsible for more concussions and brain trauma than any other play in football.  In 2010 alone, there were 218 concussions in 321 preseason, regular season and postseason games.

The league addressed the issue with a threefold plan:

1. Move the kickoff up five yards to the 35-yard line.
2. Limit defender head starts to five yards behind the kickoff line.
3. Eliminate the three-man wedge in favor of two-man wedges, no linked arms.

And according to a comprehensive AP article on SI.com, it worked, with total concussions falling to 190 in 2011 (12.5 percent), with a more significant drop on kickoffs alone: Read more »

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