NFR: Schiano’s idea for replacing kickoffs traces to LeGrand

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NFR: Schiano’s idea for replacing kickoffs traces to LeGrand

Postby Pudge » Fri Dec 07, 2012 4:29 pm

I am a fan of kickoffs. But at the same time, this lip service to player safety will remain lip service until real changes are made, such as elimination of cut blocking and doing away with kickoffs. ... r/related/

Schiano’s idea for replacing kickoffs traces to LeGrand injury
Posted by Mike Florio on December 7, 2012, 4:18 PM EST
Schiano-Grand_crop_exact Getty Images

On Thursday, TIME disclosed that Commissioner Roger Goodell has mentioned a possible replacement for kickoffs that would give the team that otherwise would be kicking off possession of the ball at its own 30 yard line, with a down-and-distance of fourth and 15. Goodell said the idea came from Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano.

On Friday, Schiano talked about the idea in a session with the media.

“That happened before I was head coach of the Bucs,” Schiano said, via “It happened when I was still at Rutgers. I was with Commissioner Goodell and we were talking about it. He expressed his concern about the health of the players in relation to the kickoff play. Certainly with my experience with Eric LeGrand I had similar feelings.”

LeGrand, a former Rutgers (and, technically, Buccaneers) player, suffered paralysis as a result of a neck injury during a kickoff return.

“This is just something that I dreamed up and as I said to [Goodell] I am not sure that all the details are there,” Schiano added. “You got to find the percentage. I think the percentage of an onside kick is about 15 percent. So you want to make sure that whatever that fourth-and-blank is, it is about 15 percent over a bunch of years. And that would be the ideal amount of yardage needed. So at least you have an onside kind of equivalent percentage wise. I think you can have a lot of exciting stuff. You open the game with a blocked punt or you open a game with – who knows what could happen, right?”

The idea still has a long way to go before it becomes a rule. Still, the fact that the Competition Committee will be exploring the elimination of kickoff in the offseason coupled with the reality that, as we’ve been told, there currently are no other ideas for eliminating the kickoff while preserving the ability to retain possession via a simulated onside kick means that Schiano’s idea is the clubhouse leader.

“I understand traditionalists don’t agree, but there used to not be the forward pass too,” Schiano said. “The game would be pretty boring without it. I am not saying it is right or wrong. I am just saying you got to be able to think outside and whatever is best for the players. At the end of the day, these guys are the ones that are putting it on the line. It is not the coaches. It is none of us. It is the players that bodies go; it is a violent game and that’s one of the things I love about it is the physical part of it. There are areas that are more susceptible to injury.

“One of the things that when I was researching I think it was like in the kickoff rules 17 percent of the catastrophic in juries happened on kickoffs. Yet it is only about six percent of the plays in the game. Well that’s disproportionate right? Things like that are reasons that led me to that, but obviously it is a personal thing with me because of Eric LeGrand.”

At first, I didn’t like the idea, because of the natural human resistance to change. I’ve since become fascinated with it.

Plenty of you have yet to share my fascination. Keep making your views known in the comments, and in the poll.
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.

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Re: NFR: Schiano’s idea for replacing kickoffs traces to LeG

Postby backnblack » Fri Dec 07, 2012 5:46 pm

MLB should use tennis balls because that first base coach got beaned and killed a couple years back. As for football, couldn't this all be settled on an XBox? No sweat. No Blood. No $7 beers.

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Re: NFR: Schiano’s idea for replacing kickoffs traces to LeG

Postby takeitdown » Fri Dec 07, 2012 6:07 pm

I don't have a problem with getting rid of kickoffs. I'd rather they do that than adjust tons of rules that affect each play. One question I would have is if punts are much safer, as I would think punts are the 2nd most dangerous plays.

One side benefit is you might require fewer special teams specialists (as you just have punt and punt return teams and no need for additional kick related specialists) and might gain 2 or 3 roster spots for specific depth instead of special teamers.

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Re: NFR: Schiano’s idea for replacing kickoffs traces to LeG

Postby RobertAP » Sat Dec 08, 2012 11:54 am

The game is structured in such a way that season ending (and career ending) injuries prevent teams from adjusting. It's one thing to lose a specific talent on the field, it's another to lose that talent, and to be prevented from acquiring similar talent because of the salary cap. So this isn't just about protecting players, it's about protecting investments. They already moved the kickoff line 5 yards... Sooner or later, kickoffs will be gone. I have no problem with that. The 4th and 15 idea seems like a good replacement. Although, I think you have to do it from the 40 yard line, not the 30. A punt from the 30 yard line will make fair catches around the 30 yard line. A punt from the 40 will put it around the 20, where it should be. If they go for it on 4th down and come up short, the field position will be about the same as an on-side kick attempt. (40-50 yard line)

Even though I still believe that the battle is won in the trenches, I'm not caught up in clinging to tradition. Kickoffs don't make football, football. Kickoffs are simply a holdover from rugby football. The game we see and love today has little else in common with rugby, it is its own sport. As such, it should have its own rules, and in this case, the idea of changing the game makes sense.

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Re: NFR: Schiano’s idea for replacing kickoffs traces to LeG

Postby Nuccah » Sat Dec 08, 2012 7:02 pm

I'm not against the idea, although more tweaking is needed.

30 yard line won't net a decent enough punt. Agree with ~40. 15 yards would be a nice starting spot for trials in the preseason.

A premium Punter's salary would get a significant boost. Especially if he can corner a punt inside an opponents 10.

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