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Bud Grant urges NFL to eliminate fair catches and touchbacks


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Anybody who watched the Kylin Hill/Jonathan Ward debacle/collision in prime time last year has to come away thinking "What is Bud Grant suggesting?" 

It's a terrible idea. In fact, kickoffs are going the way of the dinsosaur due to the absolute speed of the gunners in the game, even without the wedge, which would have prevented the Ward/Hill collision but would have caused so many injuries. 

Ugh. Do away with the spectacle. Hill's career might be over. 

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21 hours ago, massraider said:

Yes, he is still alive. 

My first thought tbh and all of his suggestions would make the game more enjoyable without a doubt but then so would tweaking a ton of rules in place for safety.

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Head hunting and clipping and chop blocks are just mean spirited. Kenyon Drake being held up to be rolled on/hurt was the cruelest stuff I've seen in years. The Redskins made several of the dirtiest plays last year.

I do not at all have sympathy for kickoff returners. The punt returners, I see them looking up and getting smashed because they can't be looking at the defender coming. I don't see that with kickoff returns. In fact I've seen returners pointing and yelling (idk what block him?) 

I hate rushing back from a snack or restroom break (like the good ol days of TV) and watching a kickoff go out of bounds. What did I rush for? Football side- where's the gamesmanship?

I do not think doing that OR being purposely called offsides to get better field position is gamesmanship. I think like a fourth grader on a playground and the opponent is a stinker for that. Play the game, win playing the game.

I see an absolute ton of hypocrites writing about this.

You can't love Devin Hester, Dante Hall, Deion, Tim Brown, Joey Galloway etc AND say you like the return game now. It's absolutely hypocrisy.

The rules and changes took away a fun part of the game. Where are the great returners now? Who has all these return touchdowns? 

Further, I've watched my Titans cut a very good kicker (Succup) only to have a slew of guys that were 50/50 on field goals but they can kick it out of the end zone. Last year they found their guy but what was all that? It's just garbage how the league changed.

Two years ago, Belichick was advocating for just getting rid of the kickoff altogether and people were supportive and ....just didn't get it. If the kickoff is sooo protected by rules and we're so worried then let's skip it. He had some sarcasm and frustration in his speech.

When Hester and Hall were around, teams would decide a few of the starters (gasp OMG the humanity) had to play ST to stop the return. We **were** on the path towards a better game. 

Let's watch the backups run up the field as the ball goes out of the end zone is hardly entertaining

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I like the idea that the offensive team has to pick up at least one yard when they're running out the clock or the clock stops.  Would make the end game much more interesting.

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Look at this. These guys are going too fast these days. 

They're a different breed of athlete. Does this mean the game is dating itself because bodies are getting too fast for collisions that are too unrelenting? I don't know. All I know is these injuries could be prevented by taking guys out of those positions. 

https://youtu.be/eJIMoK-nrkE

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Bri said:

Let's watch the backups run up the field as the ball goes out of the end zone is hardly entertaining


Sometimes discretion is the better part of valor. For all the excitement of that one run back per three weeks, mitigating player injuries sounds like a good trade-off to me. Yes, it cuts down on the "special" aspect of special teams. In the end, it's a step further in keeping the game we love intact to a degree. Because if they really studied the trauma this sport causes, there's no way people would let their kids play it. 

And they already don't. (Let them play it, that is.) 

Edited by rockaction
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2 minutes ago, rockaction said:

Look at this. These guys are going too fast these days. 

They're a different breed of athlete. Does this mean the game is dating itself because bodies are getting too fast for collisions that are too unrelenting? I don't know. All I know is these injuries could be prevented by taking guys out of those positions. 

https://youtu.be/eJIMoK-nrkE

The NFL isn't the same, since I cannot watch defenseless QBs get piledriven by 270 pound monsters.

Makes me sad, I have to rewatch my old Bumfights DVD. 

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2 minutes ago, Leroy Hoard said:

I've never found special teams to be all that special. 


Yo Leroy, 

Hold it now, hit it! *whistles blow* 

8 minutes ago, rockaction said:

Yes, it cuts down on the "special" aspect of special teams

 

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3 hours ago, rockaction said:


Sometimes discretion is the better part of valor. For all the excitement of that one run back per three weeks, mitigating player injuries sounds like a good trade-off to me. Yes, it cuts down on the "special" aspect of special teams. In the end, it's a step further in keeping the game we love intact to a degree. Because if they really studied the trauma this sport causes, there's no way people would let their kids play it. 

And they already don't. (Let them play it, that is.) 

We almost never discuss career ending injuries for kickoffs.

I think there's an amount of caring that's too much and it's a difficult subject in this PC world.

Can I feel bad a running back tore his ACL without wanting rule changes or a turf change?

I distinctly remember a video of Brady hollering at a lineman for a whiff of a block that got him leveled. Where's that in today's game?

Older I get I see more kids catch a ball and not look where they are going. When is "defenseless receiver" hey pay attention? 

Remember Tannehill and Pennington in Miami got WRs shellacked throwing them right into a safety ready to pounce. Where did that blame go?

Anywho back to kickoffs, I do not recall major injuries. I do remember Titans fans grumpy adoree isn't returning due to injury risk and someone pointing out there had never been a Titan return man injured on a return. I imagine everyone googled to verify and could not find squat.

So I know there is this concept that players get injured on kick returns but where's that data? I can't recall much 

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3 minutes ago, Bri said:

So I know there is this concept that players get injured on kick returns but where's that data? I can't recall much 


All you had to do was Google "injuries, kickoffs, football" and you would have found this rather immediately. 

https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2022/02/07/nfl-injury-data-finds-punts-and-kickoffs-are-disproportionately-dangerous/

Look, you obviously have a definite opinion on this. I'm not looking to have the burden of proof placed upon me and then have to go digging for everything to prove the point that is known through obvious and telling narratives found from the participants and coaches themselves. 

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Posted (edited)

From the same Google search: 

https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/90314/1/MPRA_paper_90314.pdf

The impact of NFL kickoff rule changes on player injuries: Forgoing excitement to reduce injuries?

Richardson, Zachary and Lindrooth, Richard

University of Colorado Denver

December 2018

I. Background

A. Health Impacts of Kickoffs: One of the key characteristics of a kickoff is the free-running nature of the play. Unlike other plays where the majority of the players are immediately engaged with one another; kickoff returns begin with a large distance between the kicking and receiving teams. The free-running aspect of kickoffs creates both excitement and exposure to injury. Kickoff returns are fast paced, often with the possibility of game-changing plays. There is also an increased risk of injury because the distance between the two teams allows unimpeded players to reach top speed before initiating contact with the opposing team.(Ocwieja et al. 2012) The elevated risk of kickoff returns is supported by academic studies which have found that kickoff returns are associated with 13.6% to 30% of all injuries suffered during games. (Prevention 2010, Houck et al. 2016) At the forefront of football injuries, concussions have drawn the most attention. Recent studies have emphasized the short- and long-term impact that concussions can have for NCAA and NFL players. Zuckerman and colleagues estimated that from the 2009-2010 3 to 2013-2014 NCAA seasons, there were 3,417 annual reported concussions for collegiate football players. (Zuckerman et al. 2015) In comparison, this same study found that the next highest collegiate sport, women’s soccer, had 1,113 annual reported concussions. Evidence of the increased risk of injuries and concussions associated with kickoff returns has also been reported in the NFL. Estimates for NFL head injuries occurring on kickoff returns range from 2.2 to 4.4 concussions per 1,000 kickoffs. (Ruestow et al. 2015) The increased exposure to injury during kickoff returns is primarily a function of the mechanics of the play and the bio-mechanics of the players. Unlike other types of plays, kickoffs occur with at least 15-yards of separation between kicking and receiving teams. This means that players from opposing teams are exposed to collisions at relatively high speeds because the players have room to accelerate before contact is made. The speed at the point of contact greatly increases the risk of an injury, particularly of a concussion. The bio-mechanical aspect of players’ injuries was first studied by Ocweija and colleagues who found that the relative acceleration and head impact between players in the NCAA were significantly associated with player concussions as well as other types of injuries. (Ocwieja et al. 2012) Further, they reported that long closing distances (“when the striking player and player struck had traveled a combined distance of ten or more yards prior to the collision.” (Ocwieja et al. 2012)) on special teams plays (i.e. kickoffs and punts) resulted in the most severe impacts during NCAA football games. Long closing distances such as those that often occur during kickoffs were further associated not just with severe impacts but severe head impacts compared to offensive and defensive plays from the line of scrimmage. (Ocwieja et al. 2012)

Edited by rockaction
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I'd be just fine with eliminating the kickoff and giving the other team the ball on the 25. In addition to reducing injuries, it would speed up the game and might actually reduce the number of commercial breaks needed after a touchdown.

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2 minutes ago, nysfl2 said:

I'd be just fine with eliminating the kickoff and giving the other team the ball on the 25. In addition to reducing injuries, it would speed up the game and might actually reduce the number of commercial breaks needed after a touchdown.


What if you were told the sad fact is that you were getting those commercials no matter what because the league needs its revenues? 

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1 hour ago, massraider said:

I find incomplete passes out of bounds boring. Let's put up a net, and let them bury each other going for the ball off the rebound. 

Exciting! 


AND THEY CALLED YOUR NAME TO ENTER THE ARENA

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12 hours ago, nysfl2 said:

I'd be just fine with eliminating the kickoff and giving the other team the ball on the 25. In addition to reducing injuries, it would speed up the game and might actually reduce the number of commercial breaks needed after a touchdown.

I’m pretty sure the NFL isn’t interested in eliminating commercial breaks.

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2 hours ago, Dr. Octopus said:

I’m pretty sure the NFL isn’t interested in eliminating commercial breaks.

Agreed!

It has shown they aren't interested in the kick-off but they need all the commercials they can get and what do they do about those sitting in the stands, while the offensive and defensive huddles stand on the 25 and look at each other?  The kickoff does give an opportunity for the extremely effective "onside kick" - which is necessary.  I think the kickoff has been adjusted as much as it will be in the next-to-near future.

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18 hours ago, SlaX said:

I'd rather eliminate kickoffs.  

Either that or move the damn ball back to the 35 like it used to be so we can have a kickoff return every now and then.  I don't know the statistics, but I would venture to guess that at least 90%, and probably more, are a touchback.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, JohnnyU said:

Either that or move the damn ball back to the 35 like it used to be so we can have a kickoff return every now and then.  I don't know the statistics, but I would venture to guess that at least 90%, and probably more, are a touchback.

 

Yep, kicking a ball out of the endzone is way too much of a formality.   I'm with Bud on this one.   Less so on fair catch punts.   I feel like there's enough bobbled balls that I'm always holding my breath when my team signals for one.   It's a devastating turn of events when a team muffs a punt and can't recover.  It happens enough that I don't find it boring.

As for kickoffs, I know it all comes down to injuries, but kicking off from the 30 and only giving them the 20 on a touchback was when they had it right from a gameplay perspective.   I would gladly put every special teams non-kicker in an inflatable sumo suit if it meant we actually got to see kickoff returns again.

Edited by sushinsky4tsar
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Posted (edited)

I do miss the kickoff return.  Watching guys like Hester, Cribbs, Desmond Howard, Brian Mitchell, Deion, and Herschel have a chance to make a 30+ yards return and reduce the field needed to score was a thing of beauty.  There was excitement about it.  Now I don't even know why they kick it.  Just start at 25 and lets go.  But it's super boring.

Edited by Brunell4MVP
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On 5/22/2022 at 10:23 PM, Moonlight said:

Bud Grant advocates for return to leather helmets.

In some ways I think this would actually lead to less concussions.  Players wouldn't lead with their heads and they would learn how to actually tackle the right way.  Rugby doesn't use helmets and their tackling is better because they have to know how to tackle rather than hit (or lead with their head).  I could be way off but it is an interesting thought to me.  

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With kickers improving every year I've always been a little surprised that the tactic of kicking a moon-shot to the 5-yard line never caught on more than it did.

If you have a good coverage team I would have just imagined the slight chance of a TO and more importantly the HUGE chance of a "block in the back" on a kick off would make the exercise worthwhile for most team. That block-in-the-back penalty seems like it has a much bigger advantage to the defense than the extremely rare return for a TD.

It's the NFL. Once a team has a lot of success with it then every team will start doing it if the data supports it. I'm an old timer and remember when every team punted on 4th down on the opponents 40-yard-line. Very, very often for a touchback.

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If it is injuries they are worried about with regards to kickoff returns, then start at the 25 be done with it, rather than what they are doing now.  Having a touchback on 95% of kickoffs (not sure of the %) is ridiculous and a waste of time.

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On 5/22/2022 at 6:47 PM, rockaction said:


What if you were told the sad fact is that you were getting those commercials no matter what because the league needs its revenues? 

They could do them in-game, maybe during challenges>. I notice baseball doing more of this, sort of how the soccer leagues sneak in advertising.

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On 5/27/2022 at 5:09 AM, JohnnyU said:

If it is injuries they are worried about with regards to kickoff returns, then start at the 25 be done with it, rather than what they are doing now.  Having a touchback on 95% of kickoffs (not sure of the %) is ridiculous and a waste of time.

I wonder why teams don't return every kickoff that doesn't go out of the endzone.  Most KO returns out of the endzone get to at least the 15 yd line with a chance at much more.  So worst case scenario you are at the 15-ish.  One first down and you are already at the same spot as the touch back.   I think it's worth the risk for the possible added benefit of a TD every so often.....or just a crease and break it off to the 45 or 50.  

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