Coaches around the NFL are discussing the NFL’s new kickoff rule, but mostly in private. The consensus from those around the league: coaches generally hate it. Most don’t want to say it out loud, like Bills head coach Sean McDermott. But Chiefs head coach Andy Reid doesn’t care if there are repercussions.
On Wednesday, Reid addressed the new rule and suffice to say, he doesn’t like it.
“My thing is, where does it stop right?” Reid said. “We start taking pieces and we’ll see how this goes. But you don’t want to take too many pieces away or you’ll be playing flag football.”
This is the entire plot of the South Park episode “Sarcastaball.” The show uses the idea of “making football safer” to eventually lead to NFL players playing with a ballon, giving each other hugs and wearing bras.
Of course, that’s a ridiculous conclusion done for parody sake. But South Park often eludes to future events. And that’s because there’s some truth within the comedy.
The NFL is, essentially, trying to eliminate kickoffs. Adding a fair catch to the kickoff which acts as a touchback is a further push to not having them at all.
And most NFL coaches and players want kickoffs. They are an exciting part of the game and they matter.
But all the recent rules pushing us towards player safety has led to some really terrible results.
Take, for example, one of the most scrutinized fouls in the game: roughing the passer. How many game-changing roughing-the-passer penalties were there in the NFL last season. The answer is a lot. I know that because I wrote about most of them.
Football is inherently unsafe. Elite male athletes run into each other at high speeds. There are going to be injuries as a result.
That’s part of the deal. Part of the reason those athletes receive million-dollar paychecks is because they put themselves in harm’s way.
To quote the great, and sarcastic, Randy Marsh: “This country’s number one priority should be making football safer.”