So I’m watching the Packers vs Saints game, and I’ve noticed that the new kickoff rule is having a negative impact on the game.
Now, I haven’t been glued to the game since it started so I may have missed something, but every kickoff I’ve seen so far has been a touchback. I understand that the NFL is looking for a way to reduce injuries and that some of the most devastating injuries happen on kickoff returns, but come on. An NFL kickoff return is one of the most exciting plays in all of sports. Hell, Desmond Howard once won Superbowl MVP on the strength of his kickoff returns.
From what I understand, this is a trial rule for this year to see what kind of impact it will have. In the preseason teams were returning kicks out of the endzone, but now that the games count it looks like teams are not going to take that gamble. The Saints and Packers aren’t anyway.
Aside: Just as I am typing this Randall Cobb (Green Bay Packers) decided to run one out of the endzone and returned it 108 yards for a touchdown. Figures…
Anyhow, as I was saying, the rule is only set in stone for this year. It needs to go away after this year. It actually needs to go away now, but that’s not possible. The touchdown return by Cobb is one of the things that the kickoff rule will eliminate. It was a hell of a play, too. Cobb was upended but was able to flip over and land back on his feet and keep on running. Why would you want to get rid of plays like this?
NFL players are upset with the NFL rules changing in the name of player safety and, quite frankly, I’m getting perturbed with it as well. NFL players are well aware that football is a violent game. Most of these players have been playing since they were children and are well aware of how violent this game is. And they accept those risks. If the NFL is worried about getting sued by players after they’re retired (it’s happening now courtesy of a group led by Jim McMahon) then they need to insert language into every contract absolving the NFL of any liability for late-life health issues of former players
The ball needs to go back to the 30 yard line and the NFL needs to leave the game the way it is. The integrity of the game is starting to be compromised and so is the excitement of the game. Goodell and company, please leave well enough alone.