Saturday, December 8, 2012

Is The NFL Becoming Too Safe?

Commissioner Roger Goodell recently proposed an idea that would eliminate kick offs in the NFL.  After a touchdown or field goal, instead of kicking off, a team would get the ball on its own 30 yard line and the down would be 4th and 15.  The options would be to go for the first down or punt the ball away.  If you go for it and don't pick up a first down the opposing team takes possession where the previous play ended.  The motivation behind the proposal is player safety, but is a rule change of this magnitude setting a bad precedence?

Of course we all want to see players protected, but I doubt very seriously if altering the way the game is played will illicit the desired results.  Football is inherently violent and there's nothing you can do to change that.  The players are bigger, stronger, and faster than ever before and high speed collisions are unavoidable.

Let us not forget the NFL is under a huge amount of pressure and scrutiny with regards to to the impending lawsuits of former players.  The lawsuits could cost the NFL billions of dollars and the liability going forward is uncertain.  No one wants to see the end of America's most popular sport and it is apparent the NFL will do whatever it takes to protect the game.

Eliminating the kick off isn't the worst thing in the world, but where does it end?  How will this impact the way football is played at the lower levels?  Will high school and college teams follow suit?  It's too early to tell what the long term ramifications will be.  I just hope they don't start putting flags on the quarterbacks and receivers so they don't get hurt.  The NFL is headed in a precarious direction.

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