NFL Debate... Drop the Kickoff?!

I get your point JFL.

But there are situations where a kickoff other than an onside kick is recovered by the receiving team and a kicking team player is within the 5 yard restraining zone. If an onside kick is attempted but goes too long, it happens. If a squib kick is made and it hits a return player playing up-field it happens from time to time.

So there are cases where it occurs. If you apply the rule to kicks longer than 15 yards as I suggested, then mr62cats idea would work and onside kicks would not thereby be illegal as blogskee had argued.

Don't even mention hockey in this forum. And for the record they are significantly different. The puck drop is a non event.

At least in the NFL you have some strategy where effort to run down field offers some reward. In the CFL the ball bounces back and you have defenders running in the opposite direction. I cannot stand the no yards penalty. The frequency that it is called points out a major flaw in our kicking game.

But if the reason for creating a rule is to reduce injuries on kickoffs, shouldn't that rule be one that will have some kind of effect on the majority of kickoffs? Not just the infrequent situations you mentioned?

Well, I take that point too. But I suppose that if the idea is to preclude the prospect of injuries on kickoffs, then the clearest remedy would be to eliminate them altogether... after TDs, FGs, opening of halves, etc. I don't favour that.

The reason I would like to see the changes I've suggested (and support those made by mr62cats and others) is that I'd like to encourage more returns and also possibilities for rouges. I'd like the rouge and the kicking game in general to be a bigger part of the game than it is now, not a smaller part.

If you want to increase the possibility of rouges then you're going to have to move the kickoff back up to 45 yard line. Outside of windy days on the prairies, it's rare for kickoffs to ever reach the end zone.
And other than those rare situations of onside kicks, squib kicks, and pop-up kicks into a strong wind, there's a return on 95% of kickoffs anyway. It's like you're trying to fix something that doesn't need fixing.

I agree that kickoffs should be moved back to the 45 yard line. They used to be taken there, and you're right, they were much more likely to reach the end zone then.

I don't think I'm trying to fix something that doesn't need fixing. It's not just a question of having kickoffs returned... yes, the vast majority of them are. My point is that I'd like to see more rouges, and more returns... from the end zone. Doing that would create more decisions about whether to give up the point or try to bring the ball out. I think adding that complexity would improve the game. So your point about the 45 yard line is a good one.

This connects to a discussion in another thread about the end zone size. If I could return to the 25 yard deep end zone I'd do that too.... increasing the chance that there'd be a long way for the returner to make it to the goal line so the returner might not want to risk running and failing. At the same time, I'd like to move the ball placement to the 10 or 15 yard line after a rouge is made or conceded, to make the return team want to try to bring it out rather than be stuck so deep in their zone. Having inducements in both directions makes the decision-making process more complex and the game more interesting, with more debates about strategy.

As far as that goes, I'd also like to increase the value of a rouge to 2 points from 1. The way it is now, too many are conceded I think, on the basis that the point can be "made up" by a 2-point convert later if needed. Going to the 2-point convert was fine, it made for strategy decisions too. But it kind of came at the sacrifice of the significance of the rouge. I don't think that needed to be the case, I suspect it was an unintended consequence, but I think it was a regrettable one that it would be good to try to correct. That's the thing that needs fixing, in my view anyway.

Here's my problem, kickoffs in the NFL are pointless as they currently stand. 90% of kickoffs result in a touchback, which is frankly my main reason for prefering CFL Football over NFL football. Backup where they kickoff from or apply some kind of disadvantage to the touchback (like say, having to field it at the 10 or the 5).

Ok, so let's say we have your rule changes. Now we have more rouges and less touchdowns. Because teams will be starting drives from closer to their own end zone. And I'm sure there's a stat that says the closer you start to your own end zone, the lower the probability you have of scoring a TD.... but I'm not even going to try to look that up.
Do we want that? I don't.

I don't think it should be easy to get a rouge on a kick-off. To me, kick-offs are to put the ball in play at the beginning of the half and/or return the ball back to the team who had just been scored upon. It shouldn't be easy to get a single on kick-offs.

As far as the NFL going the way of eliminating them or making them so rare these days ... That's why they call it The No Fun League! It's stale, boring and an inferior product.

As an aside ... And not sure how it fits with this discussion ... I do like the rule in Canadian HSFB & CIS I do believe that encourages teams to run out punts into the end zone. Just get it out, even to the one yard line, and your offence gets to scrimmage from the 20.


From what I remember, the NFL allows more players in the wedge on returns than the CFL - three (or more?) in the NFL vs. two in the CFL, I think. Would reducing the wedge in the NFL reduce injuries enough that they could go back to real kickoffs again?

The wedge in the NFL is only two men as well. In fact, the NFL may have changed their rule first because that's usually been the way in the past few years with rule changes (ex. automatic challenges of scoring plays were in the NFL first and the CFL put them in a year later).