Lonesome Kicker

by - March 23, 2011 - - Comment Now »

*Warning: The following is a complete fluff piece and has no basis in reality. In fact, I don’t even believe it, at least maybe I don’t.*

So the NFL moved kickoffs from the 30 to the 35 yard line. I hope I’m not out of turn in asking, why?

The committee behind the rule change says player safety was the impetus behind the decision. I’ll play my cynical card on that. However, I’m not going to feign outrage or even annoyance at the move. It’s five yards. I can’t foresee five yards drastically impacting the game or my enjoyment of it. That’s silly. I probably shouldn’t be writing about it.

But I do find it odd that many of the rule changes tend to start in the kicking game and also move toward reducing the number of kickoff returns. If there are no kickoff returns, then what is the point in watching kickoffs? Check that, what’s the point in even having kickoffs? Check that again, why not just get rid of the kicking game altogether?

Kickoff/punt returns and game-winning or tying field goals are the only aspect of the kicking game possessing even a modicum of excitement (and just happen to be one of the most tense and exciting moments in all of sports…the reason I’m not actually in favor of what I’m arguing here). Otherwise all kicking does is screw things up. Many teams, that are likely better than their opponent, lose simply on the foot of a bad kicker. ‘Well then get a better kicker’ one might say. They could easily continue, ‘kicking is part of the game, so you aren’t truly the better team if you are lacking in that area’. Valid points, though I still fail to see a true reason why kicking is an integral part of the game.

We all want to see our teams go for it on short fourth downs. We all go for it ourselves on fourth down when playing a video game. And I find it hard to believe that significantly more exciting and high leverage plays wouldn’t occur if punts and field goals were eliminated. The star players would have the ball in their hands and would decide their team’s fate. Shaun Suisham wouldn’t.

Ultimately I wouldn’t remove the intrigue of the fourth down decision and I wouldn’t change anything about something that has proven to be an absolutely monstrous success and truthfully, I was just searching for something to blog about. However, if they are going to continue to change the kicking game, why not just kick it out of the game period?

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