Do you love kickoffs in football?
The site reports the American Football Coaches Association and the NCAA Division I Football Oversight Committee both have had “preliminary discussions” in regards to eliminating the kickoff from the game at some point in the future.
Why would they do such a thing?
Concerns about the play being the root of a disproportionate amount of injuries compared to plays from scrimmage.
Saying he is “excited to have this discussion,” AFCA executive director Todd Berry told CBS Sports, “It looks like the data is skewed where we have more injuries on that play. If that’s the case, we have to look at eliminating the play, modifying the play, change blocking schemes.”
The latter two have already happened in recent years. Teams now kick off from the 35-yard line instead of the 30, and wedge blocking has been significantly limited.
A representative from the NCAA rules committee told CBS Sports the move to the 35 resulted in a 50-percent increase in touchbacks, meaning there were 50 percent fewer kickoffs that had the potential to end with a violent tackle – or a long return. Any kickoff that is returned will of course include a handful of hard blocks, too.
Rulesmakers also changed where the ball is place after a touchback on a kickoff, moving it from the 20 to the 25, and that might have had some unintended consequences.
Rather than taking what was practically a free touchback, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer began instructing his kickers to aim the ball for one corner of the field while his kickoff team swarms to try to make a stop shy of the 25.