If and When the NFL Returns, Its Returns Will Be Boring

Safety? Jesus doesn't even need a helmet.
Safety? Jesus doesn't even need a helmet.

And I know the league has a new focus on health and safety, but I don't like the proposed rule changes being kicked about at the NFL owners' meetings in New Orleans this week. Owners are expected to vote today on a rule that would move kickoffs from the 30 to the 35, prevent kicking-team players to line up more than five yards behind the kicker, eliminate altogether the blocking wedge and bring touchbacks out to the 25 instead of the 20.

UPDATE: Kickoffs at the 35, but touchbacks still to the 20.

It's drastic. It's game-changing.

It needs 75 percent approval to pass, and there'll be staunch opposition from teams like the Chicago Bears who have invested millions in returners such as Devin Hester. And if I'm Dallas Cowboys' kicker David Buehler, I'm hoping this thing sails wide left.

Watching a player take a knee in the end zone isn't exciting. Nor is watching kickers - with the shorter distance big-leg kickers like Buehler won't be such a premium - boom the ball out of the back of the end zone.

I guess it's safety vs. entertainment, and I guess I'm supposed to feel guilty on where I stand.

I don't like injuries, but I'm drawn to the violence of the NFL. I wouldn't be interested in buying a DVD not of the biggest hits, but rather of the longest kickoffs. We don't watch Jackass because it reigns the danger in, but rather pushes it past the logical ledge. And ABC's Wipeout is on TV not because contestants make it through the goofy gauntlets unscathed, but rather because they, well, wipeout.

Owners today also will vote on strengthening and expanding the "defenseless player" rule to include a receiver who has made a completed catch but hasn't had time to protect himself.

I don't know about you, but I don't like where this is all headed.

In a sorta related story, I'm very confused by Jerry Jones' lockout sunglasses.


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