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Fri Dec 7, 2012, 10:08 AM

NFL will consider ending kickoffs

ESPN.com news services / 12-6-12

Commissioner Roger Goodell said Thursday the NFL's competition committee would consider in the offseason replacing the kickoff. The league previously had moved the kickoff from the 30- to 35-yard line to cut down on violent collisions.

Goodell and Rich McKay, the head of the league's competition committee, discussed an idea brought up by Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano in which a team, instead of kicking off, would get the ball at its own 30-yard line in a fourth-and-15 situation. The team then would punt the ball away or, to replace an onside kick, could go for it and, if it failed to get a first down, the opposing squad would start with great field position.

"The fact is, it's a much different end of the play," Goodell said during the meeting, according to Time magazine.

Speaking about the potential change before Thursday night's Raiders-Broncos game in Oakland, Calif., the commissioner said, "I thought it was an interesting idea. The committee will look at it."

http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/8720551/roger-goodell-says-nfl-competition-committee-consider-eliminating-kickoffs

More from the article: When the NFL moved kickoffs from the 30-yard line to the 35 in 2011, players suffered 40 percent fewer concussions.

Here's the math on Schiano's idea: With the ball spotted on the 30, the actual punt will occur at the 20 or 15 yard line. An average 65 yard punt would travel to the opposing teams' 15 or 20. 5 to 10 yard return and the offense starts on the 20 or 30. No room for error -- punters will have to be equally adept in accuracy and distance. It's not a bad idea IMO, especially if it means fewer concussions. We lose the onside kick. But the fourth-and-15 sounds kind of cool.

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Arrow 11 replies Author Time Post
Reply NFL will consider ending kickoffs (Original post)
Auggie Dec 2012 OP
KamaAina Dec 2012 #1
Upton Dec 2012 #2
JonLP24 Dec 2012 #4
Upton Dec 2012 #5
Auggie Dec 2012 #6
Upton Dec 2012 #9
JonLP24 Dec 2012 #11
KamaAina Dec 2012 #8
JonLP24 Dec 2012 #10
SoapBox Dec 2012 #3
MrSlayer Dec 2012 #7

Response to Auggie (Original post)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 12:43 PM

1. A fourth and 15 is a hell of a lot easier to pick up than recovering an onside kick

the last two minutes of a game in that circumstance could become like arena ball. Prepare to watch three-touchdown fourth-quarter leads vanish faster than Mittwit's Univision spray tan.

edit: Also, teams whose offense is built around the run would be screwn.

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Response to Auggie (Original post)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 01:17 PM

2. KamaAina is right..

for some teams picking up a 4th and 15 is basically a 50-50 proposition...not so with an expected onside kick. It penalizes a rushing team like the 49ers, while QB's like Brady, Brees and Rodgers will once again reap the benefits of another rule change..

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Response to Upton (Reply #2)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 03:39 PM

4. The probability appears to be the same

From 4th & 16, conversions are successful 18% of the time -- http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/football-insider/wp/2012/09/19/redskins-should-have-gone-for-a-first-down-after-josh-morgans-blunder/ I imagine it is about 20% for 4th & 15.

Non-surprise onside kicks are successful about 20% of the time -- http://www.advancednflstats.com/2009/09/onside-kicks.html

That isn't to dispute some teams would have advantages over others, just saying they're very close to each other in terms of probability.

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Response to JonLP24 (Reply #4)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 04:01 PM

5. Makes sense...

because if you think about it, that's no doubt how Schiano came up with his 15 yards. Still, the idea does favor certain kinds of teams, specifically passing offenses featuring top talent at the skill positions..

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Response to Upton (Reply #5)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 04:37 PM

6. Coaches would have to develop defensive specialists and plays just for that scenario

and they'll practice it just like they practice the onsides kick now.

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Response to Auggie (Reply #6)

Sat Dec 8, 2012, 09:16 PM

9. Yeah, they would

but it still wouldn't make up for the natural advantage a passing team has in a long yardage situation such as the one proposed..

Look at the top teams in 3rd conversions...which is about as close to an equivalent stat I can get to the idea, they're virtually all passing offenses..

http://espn.go.com/nfl/statistics/team/_/stat/downs/sort/thirdDownConvPct

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Response to Upton (Reply #9)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 02:57 PM

11. Interesting list

New England is actually #2 in the NFL in rushing attempts and has the most 3rd downs converted by runs. Though 49ers have a higher percentage of first downs converted by runs, nearly 50-50 there.

It would be most useful to find out what the numbers are for 3rd & 15 which I imagine are converted at a low rate, even by the top teams.

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Response to JonLP24 (Reply #4)

Sat Dec 8, 2012, 08:38 PM

8. But again, that's an overall stat

For teams with high-powered passing games, it's higher. For rushing teams, lower.

And that 20 percent figure for onside kicks seems a bit high.

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Response to KamaAina (Reply #8)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 02:48 PM

10. 26% overall

The unexpected onside kicks converting at 60% of the time carries it up. He admitted it was a bit tricky to determine which was a surprising kick and which was expected, he used time, score, etc in the data to determine what it was. He uses the 20% here again, http://www.advancednflstats.com/2009/12/should-steelers-have-kicked-onside.html

I trust his numbers. He gave Carolina a 62% chance of defeating Atlanta and so far they're up 23-0. The reason is because he weighs ad/ypa most heavily in his data and Carolina has the league leader in yards per pass attempt.


He actually wrote about this very topic here

Schiano chose 15 yards as the distance to go for a reason. The success rate for converting do-or-die plays with 15 yards to go is the same as for onside kicks, 19 percent. One exception is that "surprise" onside kicks—attempted when the kicking team is not in desperate circumstances—are recovered far more frequently, at over 50 percent. Under the new rule, the equivalent of a surprise onside kick would be a fake punt—a far more challenging conversion.

Starting field position for the receiving team would be affected, too. Currently, with the kickoff line at the 35-yard line, the average starting field position following a kickoff is a team's own 22. Punts from a team's own 30 net an average of 38 yards, moving the average starting field position 10 yards further upfield, to the 32.

This will simultaneously increase scoring and reduce the effective value of a score. Points will rise, but less than you might think. It will certainly be easier for the receiving team to score. In typical situations the chance of a touchdown will increase from about 17 percent to 20 percent. Field goal chances will increase similarly.

Touchdown-return frequency will be affected as well. Over the past two seasons, under the new kickoff rules, kickoffs are returned for touchdowns just 0.2 percent of the time. Punts from near the kicking team's own 30-yard line are returned for touchdowns slightly over 1 percent of the time.

http://deadspin.com/5966645/roger-goodell-is-thinking-about-eliminating-kickoffs-how-would-it-affect-nfl-offenses

Seems the proposed changes favors the receiving team more than the kicking team.

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Response to Auggie (Original post)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 01:34 PM

3. It ain't broke...don't fix it.

How's about just trying to keep the players from becoming brain-damaged vegetables.

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Response to Auggie (Original post)

Sat Dec 8, 2012, 04:36 PM

7. Why don't they just stop playing the game?

 

If you're going to wussify the game bit by bit then just go to flags or just end the league all together. It's ridiculous the way they're destroying all the sports.

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