April 17th, 2018 at 11:42 AM ^

and no summary of the artcile, for shame!

key rule change is fair catch anywhere inside the 25 and get the ball at the 25


but agree - this is a bummer for teams with good kick coverage and a kicker who can drop it inside the 5 yrd line


April 17th, 2018 at 11:50 AM ^

have two choices at this point.  They can perform invasive surgery on the kickoff procedure and leave them in as basically symbolic or just remove the kickoff from the game.  Statistics show that kickoff returns and kickoff coverage are disproportionately dangerous to their impact on the game.

I think I would like them to make the changes they are making instead of eliminating the kickoff because I think removing the kickoff entirely would take away an important symbolic moment after a score even if 90% are going to be touchbacks or fair catches. 

Crisler 71

April 17th, 2018 at 6:09 PM ^

Getting rid of kickoffs means getting rid of onside kicks.  But the result is that if you go down by more than one score with less than five minutes left the game is virtually over.  If you take a couple of minutes to score, the other team gets the ball 100% of the time to run the clock out.


April 17th, 2018 at 12:19 PM ^

You still need to MAKE the fair catch.  There are still a lot of muffed catches.

Kinda like how an intentional walk in baseball still needs to throw 4 pitches.   You never know what might go wrong. 


April 17th, 2018 at 1:39 PM ^

I watched that happen in real time (and even noted that the pitch outs were dangerously close to the plate when they started). That was one of the sweetest things I've seen in a baseball game because it was so rare. Damn the MLB for changing the rules just for the sake of "saving time". Baseball was meant to be a leisurely spectator sport (only slightly more involving than golf) - this is why it used to be called America's favorite "pastime".

Pepto Bismol

April 17th, 2018 at 1:19 PM ^

There's an old proposal by Greg Schiano in the wake of Eric LeGrand's spine injury at Rutgers. It really covers all the bases. First, you have to understand and agree that the kickoff is the most dangerous play in football and punts are a billion times less likely to cause injury.

Instead of a kickoff, the team who just scored or who would regularly be booting it away gets the ball at their own 30 and it's automatically 4th & 15.

Instead of a kickoff, just punt it away. The danger of the kickoff is guys running into each other with a 50-yard running start. Punts take that away.

In place of an onside kick, you just go for it. It's been awhile, but I believe the success rate is similar.

And that's pretty much it. You still have the traditional kick to change possession and start things off, and you still have a low-probability opportunity to retain the ball in an emergency.  Fake punts replace the surprise onside.

Everybody wins.


April 17th, 2018 at 1:44 PM ^

This is pretty compelling. You still get the excitement of possible returns (moreso than with the new 25 fair catch rule), possible fakes, and even straight-up going for it. Punts are way more exciting than KO anyway IMO.


April 17th, 2018 at 3:05 PM ^

No changes. Look, I'm all for all of the rule changes recently to enhance safety. In fact, I'd try to ban head to head contact altogether if that was possible. But kickoffs and returns are a fundamental element of the game, and even more so, a kickoff return for a TD is just about the most exciting thing that can happen in football. Making changes that fundamentally alter a core component of the game, not to mention making it less exciting to watch, should be avoided.

Every single person playing football now knows the potential problem with head injuries. They choose to play. They choose to be risky with their health. That is good enough for me, and for them in fact. Let the NCAA allow waivers for players (if any) that don't want to be on kickoff teams. Fine. Otherwise let this go. In fact increase (back to the old rules in college and NFL) the chances of long kickoff returns. 


April 17th, 2018 at 11:47 AM ^

Both the NCAA & the NFL are doing everything humanly possible to stop actual returns from occurring short of the one thing that would actually stop them and that is to just do away with them altogether.

Just do it for God's sake.

Surveillance Doe

April 17th, 2018 at 11:51 AM ^

If you get rid of the kickoff entirely, you eliminate the possibility of an onside kick and, consequently, a lot of fun, late-game drama. While I don't personally like this rule, it does preserve the possibility of an onside kick while making every other kickoff essentially a touchback.

All that being said, I think we're going to see a new specialty arise, which will be the line-drive squib, which could create some fun chaos from time to time.


April 17th, 2018 at 12:51 PM ^

If I'm a special teams coach the back 4-5 guys are all dudes who at least returned kicks in HS with this new rule.

There would still be some scary plays as you'll get gunners diving for the muffed kicks at full speed in traffic. Not many teams have a Foug so at least that approach won't be super widespread. 


April 17th, 2018 at 3:13 PM ^

If you replace fullback blocker types with returners, then already you are limiting the big body collisions which seem to be the most dangerous. It could be one way this rule nudges the game to become more finesse and less injurious, at least of the kickoff.


April 17th, 2018 at 12:19 PM ^

Then you can elect to kick an onsides everytime but boot it deep anyways. Onsides kick is the high water mark for a sore loser making up a rule to give himself a chance. You just know some dingus kicked the ball 3 yards and fell on it during a game, and the other guy was like, WTF is that? And he goes "Onside kick, duh" and the other coach goes, well you have to kick it at least 10 yards bro. 

It's dumb. You score, the other team gets the ball. 


April 17th, 2018 at 12:44 PM ^

Obviously it's a holdover from rugby. I was being facecious. Also, if rugby was a good enough game we wouldn't have invented American football.

I don't get why we so dearly need to hang onto a part of the game that happened 1 time in a Michigan game the entire 2017 season...


April 17th, 2018 at 2:47 PM ^

If your argument for getting rid of kickoffs is "well what about onside kicks" then I think you are off base. Kickoffs are the most dangerous play in football, and onside kicks are more dangerous than regular ones. An onside kick is not important to the game (nobody has ever said, "we lost because we couldn't recover an onside kick"), but player safety is one of the top priorities. 

The point is, Michigan and it's opponents participated in 138 kickoffs last year and only one was an onside kick. Why on Earth would that one occurance be the reason the risk player injury 137 other times?