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December 7, 2012 @ 2:48 pm
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Schiano On The Forefront Of Proposed Kickoff Rule Changes

Written by Mark
Mark Cook


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After witnessing former Rutgers player Eric LeGrand suffer a spinal cord injury that happened on a kickoff, Bucs head coach Greg Schiano thought of ways to reduce injury on kickoffs. Schiano has met with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to explain some of his ideas. On Friday, Schiano explained his thought and reasons to the local media.
A lot of players and coaches have suggested the NFL find ways to make kickoffs in the league safer. But not many – if any – have such a personal reason behind the change as does Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano.

In a story yet to be published by Time Magazine NFL commissioner Roget Goodell said Schiano, while at Rutgers, proposed some ideas that go against NFL tradition, but could make the game safer.

Schiano spoke about his ideas and meeting with Goodell on Friday during his afternoon press conference.

“That happened before I was head coach of the Bucs,” Schiano said. “It happened when I was still at Rutgers. I was with commissioner Goodell and we were talking about it. He expressed his concern about the health of the players in relation to the kickoff play. Certainly with my experience with Eric LeGrand I had similar feelings. This is just something that I dreamed up and as I said to him I am not sure that all the details are there. You got to find the percentage. I think the percentage of an onside kick is about 15 percent. So you want to make sure that whatever that fourth-and (blank) is, it is about 15 percent over a bunch of years. And that would be the ideal amount of yardage needed. So at least you have an onside kind of equivalent percentage wise. I think you can have a lot of exciting stuff. You open the game with a blocked punt or you open a game with – who knows what could happen, right? “

While all the details are still not revealed, part of what Schiano suggested, as an alternative to a kickoff is that teams would get the ball on their own 30 yard line with the opportunity for one play to either try and convert a still undetermined specific amount of yardage, or punt the football.

Schiano told the media that making such a drastic change wouldn’t go over well with some, but thinks it is worth going against tradition in order to prevent catastrophic injuries.

“Yes, and I understand traditionalists don’t agree, but there used to not be the forward pass too,” Schiano said. “The game would be pretty boring without it. I am not saying it is right or wrong I am just saying you got to be able to think outside and whatever is best for the players. At the end of the day, these guys are the ones that are putting it on the line. It is not the coaches. It is none of us. It is the players that bodies go; it is a violent game and that’s one of the things I love about it is the physical part of it. There are areas that are more susceptible to injury.

"One of the things that when I was researching I think it was like in the kickoff rules 17 percent of the catastrophic in juries happened on kickoffs. Yet it is only about six percent of the plays in the game. Well that’s disproportionate right? Things like that are reasons that led me to that, but obviously it is a personal thing with me because Eric LeGrand.”

According to reports, the new rule may be explored in the spring by the NFL Competition Committee.


Last modified on Friday, 07 December 2012 15:01

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  • avatar

    I guess any little Devin Hesters out there can just stick with track and field. No one will want to see what they have to offer any more. God forbid someone should get hurt doing what they love. And you can all save the "If you walked a mile in their shoes" routine. I'm going in for knee replacement surgery next month, at age 43. It's all from football. It hurts like hell most days. I would not change it. There are worse things in life than pain like a life unlived.
  • avatar

    I remember that stupid league when opposing players ran a mad dash to the football instead of the traditional coin flip. Kick-off returns are now nearly eliminated by touch-backs anyway. It seems that as many times the returner gets beyond the 20 he is stopped short of the 20. Thus, why not just eliminate the kick-offs altogether? Eliminate the coin flip too. Visiting team gets the ball to start the game and home team gets it to start the 3rd quarter.
  • avatar

    Well I guess I'm on the side of Terrell Suggs. If they want to play flag football go right ahead. The rules are changing by the day. Touch the QB.. flag, touch the helmet.. flag, bit hard of a hit..flag, touch the receiver.. flag. It seems to me now there are more flags per game than there ever was. Is this TACKLE football or FLAG football? I'm all for safety but if they keep changing the rules it will soon be flag football or two hand touch.
  • avatar

    I agree that the NFL should continue it's pursuit to make the game safer. But I fear that in it's good effort to do, they begin to change the essence of the game - and nobody wants that! My suggestion is not to radically change the game but slightly change the rules to discourage the use of the return as an offensive advantage. I would change the rules such that any kick that is fielded in the end zone cannot be returned and automatically comes out to the 20 yard line. Any kickoff in the field of play beyond the 20 yard line, the receiving team has the option to run back or signal fair catch which automatically brings the ball out to the 20 yard line. Any kick that goes out of bounds after the 20 yard line automatically goes to the 20 yard line plus a 10 yard penalty. The kicking team has the option to kick out of bounds and take a penalty than to face a dangerous return man in a close game. Any kick that goes out of bound before the 20 yard line is placed at the point of the foul plus a 10 yard penalty. This eliminates a 10 yard penalty and a re-kick from the 20 yard line which is usually returnable. All other rules regarding kickoffs remain as is. Don’t eliminate kickoffs, discourage the number of kickoff returns thereby reducing the opportunity for an injury to occur!
  • avatar

    Sounds like a great idea. Like he said you've got to work it out so that it's has a similar "surprise" feel when someone goes for it and the chance of making is about the same
  • avatar

    I think this is a good idea.
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