When the NFL moved the kickoff from the 30 to the 35-yard line in 2012, there was talk that the kickoff could be eliminated completely at some point in an attempt to make the game safer.
That discussion had been dormant since then, until Giants co-owner and NFL Competition Committee member John Mara told Giants.com Tuesday that while the committee isn’t ready to abolish the kickoff, “we may be moving in that direction.”
Mara said the committee considered eliminating kickoffs for the 2016 season but instead moved touchbacks from the 20 to the 25-yard line on a one-year trial basis. The goal is to reduce the number of times a returner tries to run the ball out of the end zone. Mara said that the kickoff return is the play with the highest concussion frequency in football.
If the kickoff is taken out of football, then the onside kick would also be gone. That would take away a level of excitement late in games.
Let’s hope the new touchback rule has the desired effect of reducing concussions on kickoffs, for the sake of the players and for the sake of the game.