Ivy League Rule-Change results in Zero Concussions on Kickoffs in 2016 Season

Submitted by Hugh White on October 18th, 2017 at 6:02 PM

For the 2016 season, Ivy League football games featured an experiment where kickoffs were initiated from the 40 instead of the 35, in an effort to increase touchbacks, and decrease concussions. 


The league just released the findings of the experiment, and announced that it had seen zero concussions on kickoffs during 2016 conference play.  In previous years, kickoffs accounted for 23.4 percent of concussions, despite representing only 5.8 percent of overall plays.  


Link: http://www.ivyleague.com/news/2017/10/18/football-ivy-league-experimental-kickoff-rule-leads-to-significant-decrease-in-concussions.aspx



October 18th, 2017 at 8:09 PM ^

I've thought about the complete elimination of kickoffs as well and how it would totally reduce concussions. The only problem turns into when you're down at the end of the game, score to move yourself into striking distance and then: the opposing team just gets the ball at the 20. Eliminating kickoffs ends a lot of games without a team getting a chance to recover an onside and possibly win


October 19th, 2017 at 1:47 PM ^

If there is still a kick, there will always be an opportunity for a concussion. My thought was to eliminate kickoffs altogether. Start of halves begins at the 20. When a team scores a FG, the opposing team gets the ball at the 20. When a touchdown is scored, the PAT is either a PAT or 2pt - if the team kicks the PAT, the opponent gets the ball at the 35; if the scoring team goes for 2, the opponent gets the ball at the 20. After a safety, stick with the free kick, but line it up like a punt.


October 19th, 2017 at 11:10 AM ^

I thought Schiano had an interesting idea to replace kickoffs. 

After a team scores a TD or field goal, the scoring team receives the football on their own 30 yard line and the play is 4th & 15.

This gives the team two options: punt or run a play to attempt to get a first down.

One of the complaints on eliminating the kickoff altogether and just letting the opponent start at the 20 is that it removes those exciting onside kick recovery moments. This method would actually add much more drama / intrigue to the end of close games, IMO, even if a bit awkward adjustment at first.

I don't know if that's the answer, but I think it's worth discussion.


October 18th, 2017 at 6:05 PM ^

Why not just kickoff from the OTHER teams 40 and really increase touchbacks!

Or just eliminate kick-offs and start on the 20- geez what's the point of a kickoff.


October 18th, 2017 at 8:53 PM ^

I don't think kick offs will go away. TV likes running commercials before and after. They could adjust by adding TV timeouts during drives, but fans would revolt at that. Combining them into one really long break would be weird.


October 18th, 2017 at 6:09 PM ^

This just makes it easier to use the max hangtime kickoff that lands around the 5 a la Foug. Just eliminate the kickoff altogether unless the kicking team wants to attempt an onside kick. Less commercial breaks too!


October 18th, 2017 at 6:09 PM ^

This idea could be introduced to other plays as well. 

All passes must be to the back of the endzone

All runs must be QB sneaks

All punts must go out of bounds


Man- watch those concussions fall!


Or best of all- everybody gets in a giant plastic bubble and battles it out like hamsters in running balls!

Sextus Empiricus

October 18th, 2017 at 11:55 PM ^


While football has retained its popularity, at least some Americans are turning away. More than 1 in 5, 23 percent, say their interest in professional football has decreased in recent years, up from 13 percent in 2012.


Though only 7 percent of those people attributed their turning away to injuries.

For me, at least, it's hard to turn away from my school.  I don't watch NFL anymore unless I am in an airport.

Mr Miggle

October 19th, 2017 at 9:37 AM ^

For me the two main reasons were the Lions ineptitude and the corruption in the league offices. Head injuries are going to take their toll too, but I think it will be more through losing players first, then viewers.

It's best to make changes now, rather than out of desperation later.

Sextus Empiricus

October 19th, 2017 at 10:09 AM ^

One concussion increases adolescent likelihood of contracting Multiple Sclerosis in adulthood by 22%.  Multiple concussions increase the odds to ~150%.

The game is already skewed socioeconomically.

Goodell and others screwed the pooch when they  didn't address player safety early.  My kids already make fun of me.

We are going to look back on this blog with nostalgia.  I will likely follow Brian wherever he goes.


Sextus Empiricus

October 19th, 2017 at 12:18 PM ^

Ultimate,VR and robotic sports as real Varsity alternatives with income potential.  Non contact sports will always be there but income comes from contact and speed.  Hockey (no check) and Soccer (no header) are viable, I think.  Though no check Hockey, to me, is weak sauce.

That is the future... if a distant one.

The Administration has zero interest in Athletics.  They defer to Athletics to make these strategic moves when their budget is entirely dependent on Football.  Not making these moves early will compromise Michigan's ability to seed and attract the best.

In the end Sport comes from the people who play and watch it.  Change will happen on it's own.  It's just ... such a huge part of my life.  I don't think I can say enough about it.

Sextus Empiricus

October 19th, 2017 at 1:05 PM ^

that has always been the case.  All sports change ... this however is about contact.  You can't take the contact out of football.  If you think people are expendable you and I are never going to agree about anything (and I know we agree about some more crass and lude things.)

The biggest change, if people are expendable (and they aren't), would be to increase the roster / recruiting limits per team and decrease the gross number of teams.  CFB is not a good consortium for doing that when football has historically been seen as advertising and as a school cultural focus point.

Mr Miggle

October 19th, 2017 at 9:30 PM ^

But those issues will make it much harder to field HS teams. Colleges would back off too at some point. It's not that football will completely disappear, but that it will lose a lot of its popularity.

People like to point out that boxing is still around, but it's significantly less popular than in its heyday. 


October 18th, 2017 at 6:14 PM ^

Diagnosed that is. Still, the game will change to reduce likelihood. Until the day American football becomes ... union rugby. Of which I enjoyed many good years playing.


October 18th, 2017 at 6:57 PM ^

If you don’t count breaking your spine as dangerous. Seriously, Rugby is so brutal. I could reasonably play football full speed everyday. Rugby, maybe twice a week. You can’t move the day after you play rugby. Rugby may* have less concussions, but it more than makes up for it in other ways. Broken noses, fractured orbitals, busted teeth, every shoulder injury you can think of, and best of all, spinal injuries. The pressure put on the spine during a scrum is tremendous, especially in the front row.

*I don’t actually know


October 18th, 2017 at 7:53 PM ^

Having watched a bit of the sport, it seems obvious that with next to no protections there would be more injuries.  In addition, I would wager that the studies that have been done on American football have not been done on rugby to the same extent.  I would rather play American ball with a helmet and pads than rugby without.


October 18th, 2017 at 9:12 PM ^

Having played hooker for seven years at Michigan and on the West Coast. My position was focus of the scrum, with my own team wedging me like an elephant that almost crushed me and then there was the other side. It was indeed tough to get out of bed the next morning. At Michigan we had a scrum half who fell and had his neck stepped on deliberately and the infringer was banned for life. But I never met a player who broke his spine during play. Not B1G, regional, tournament, East Coast, West Coast nor international matches. Methinks you dost exaggerate quite a bit.