Maybe it’s not fair to put this video with this post, but I’m doing it anyways.
Probably not, but one coach is pushing for people to consider it. Rutgers coach Greg Schiano has seen one too many players injured during the traditional changing of possession for his taste – and he’s proposing we do something about it. After he watched Eric LeGrand suffer a brutal spinal cord injury during a kickoff against Army (one that has LeGrand paralyzed from the neck down,) Schiano got to thinking. And thinking turned to questioning. “Why do we have to have kick offs?” He asked. “Just because we’ve always had them?”
And he raises a good point. Statistically, kickoffs bring more injuries than any other part of the game. Yes, they seem necessary – but Schiano has another option that is actually pretty interesting if you give it a shot. Instead of the traditional kick off, replace it with a fourth and 15 from a teams own 30 yard line. In most instances, the team will choose to punt it away. But just like with onside kicks, they have a choice to try and convert to get the ball back – with a traditional play, and not a high risk onside kick.
Maybe the answer isn’t a drastic change like this – after all, the opening kick is a pretty exciting moment, and starting a game with a punt just wouldn’t feel the same. But if it means protecting the players from career ending injuries, maybe it’s worth looking in to.