NFL May Eliminate Kickoffs At May Summit Meeting

In an effort to make football safer and throw the critics a bone, the NFL is hastily deciding to address the future of the kickoff play during a May 1 and 2 summit meeting at league headquarters in New York. It seems, the NFL wants to eliminate the most exciting play in football from its entertainment repertoire. 

Best Returns in Football History

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Kevin Seifert of ESPN.com reported the news, noting the “kickoff has long been a source of concern for NFL medical staffs,” especially after the NFL’s competition committee received data in March highlighting the fact concussions are five times more likely to happen on kickoffs than other plays.

If those stats are accurate, its hard to argue that eliminating kickoffs would help improve safety. At the same time, you are gutting the game of one of its most thrilling and game-changing aspects.

Seifert noted there was a league-record 291 diagnosed concussions during the 2017 campaign.

“If you don’t make changes to make it safer, we’re going to do away with it” Green Bay Packers president Mark Murphy said of the kickoff, per Seifert. “It’s that serious. It’s by far the most dangerous play in the game.”

NFL players are fighting back against the idea.  

Michael Thomas on Twitter

Stop spreading the false narrative that “kickoff” is a dangerous play. So many other ways to protect players on the field. So many other ways to shorten the game to help viewership. Be real about this objective, and how many families will be effected… https://t.co/2bFQLcsgMb

If eliminating kickoffs occurs anytime in the near future it would truly be a sad day for football and one that College, high school and lower divisions would eventually follow. 

Zack Cox on Twitter

Matthew Slater gave a long and passionate response today on why the NFL should not get rid of kickoffs. Said it would be “tragic” and called the push to do so “disheartening.” https://t.co/G5WmTHHRxU

Initially fans would be in an uproar and the way NFL rosters are constructed would drastically change , eliminating a lot of jobs for football players who willingly play the sport with an understanding of the potential health risks

Peter Schrager on Twitter

The elimination of kickoffs would have enormous ramifications on roster building. Lots of Special Teams players in NFL make 53’s on kickoff work. Mere suggestion of this as a possibility would have me at great unease if I’m one of the hundreds around NFL who make livings on them.

Take a look at some of the greatest kick returns in NFL history. Times are changing and these plays might soon be distant memories of another time in American sports. 

Greatest Kick Returns in NFL History (Part 1)

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JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.