Greg Schiano discusses replacing kickoffs

By Matt Sugam

Yesterday, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell revealed in an interview in this week’s TIME Magazine that he was considering removing kickoffs from the NFL.

Rather then of kickoffs, teams would line up on the 30-yard line and punt after scoring. Instead of onside kicks, the offense could go for it on what would essentially be a 4th and 15, turning the ball over on downs if the team does not pick up the 15 yards.

The idea came from Tampa Bay Bucs head coach Greg Schiano, and today, he spoke about his proposal.

“I understand traditionalists don’t agree, but there used to not be the forward pass, too, and the game would be pretty boring without it, so,” Schiano told reporters in Tampa Bay. “I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, I’m just saying you’ve got to be able to think outside and whatever is best for the players, because at the end of the day these guys are the ones that are putting it on the line.”

It’s dangers of kickoffs is something Schiano is well researched on, as he began looking into the dangers of kickoffs after his own player Eric LeGrand was paralyzed making a tackle for Rutgers on a kickoff in 2010.

“One of the things that when I was researching, I think it was like, in the old kickoff rules 17 percent of the catastrophic injuries happened on kickoffs, yet it’s only about 6 percent of the plays in the game,” Schiano said. “Well, that is disproportionate. Things like that are the reasons that led me there, but obviously it’s a personal thing with me because of Eric LeGrand.”

And it’s an idea Schiano proposed to Goodell while he was still coaching in the college ranks.

“This is just something that I dreamed up and as I said to him I’m not sure all the details are there,” Schiano said, adding, “but I think you could have a lot of exciting stuff. You know, you open the game with a blocked punt or you open the game, who knows what could happen, fake punt?”

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