NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – NFL fans could be in for a big change, one that could potentially alter the game forever.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who has dealt with his fair share of controversy since taking over for Paul Tagliabue, told TIME Magazine that he might consider eliminating kickoffs.
Before the 2011 campaign, kickoffs were moved up to the 35-yard line, and the result has been far fewer returns, as kicks often sail into the end zone.
But that solution isn’t enough for some.
The commissioner has had recent discussions with Rich McKay, the Falcons’ president and head of the NFL’s competition committee, TIME Magazine reported, about a rule change that would turn the football world upside down.
The rule, which was proposed by Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano, would seems inconceivable to conventional football fans. Under Schiano’s proposal, after a team scores it would immediately get the ball back and start on its own 30-yard line. That team would have the option to either try and pick up 15 yards and keep the football, or simply punt the ball away and let the defense take over.
The NFL has stressed the idea of more protection for players under Goodell’s regime. Many former players have come out and blamed the league for their brain damage as a result of being forced to play through repeated concussions.
Hall of Fame linebacker Harry Carson, for one, came out and said that he never would have played football had he known about the effects of concussions.
There is a rule in place for next season that will require all players to wear thigh and knee pads.
Though many non-football fans would likely applaud Goodell for taking this measure in an effort to keep players safe, he insists that the decision would in no way be a public relations move.
“I don’t do things for public relations,” Goodell said. “I do things because they’re the right thing to do, because I love the game.”
It remains to be seen when a decision will be made about getting rid of kickoffs and implementing Schiano’s proposal.
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