New York Giants owner John Mara believes that the kickoff will remain an important part of the NFL in the near future, but that it could eventually be eliminated, he said in an interview with Giants.com.
While discussing the recent changes to the rule book made by the NFL Competition Committee, Mara said that the decision to spot the ball on the 25-yard line after touchbacks was made with player safety in mind.
“The theory there was that the kickoff return remains the most dangerous play that we have in the game, has the highest rate of concussions,” Mara said. “You see more and more returners bringing the ball out from eight or nine yards deep. The hope is that if they’re catching the ball that deep in the end zone, knowing that they’re going to automatically get it at the 25, maybe that would discourage them from coming out.”
Mara also said that the committee considered the possibility of completely removing the kickoff from the game, but has not yet reached the point where that move would be realistic.
However, he made it clear that the discussion about eliminating the kickoff will continue moving forward.
“We’re not at the point where we want to take the kickoff out of the game completely, although we may be moving in that direction,” Mara said. “One of the concerns is what do you do in a situation where you’ve scored late in the game and you’re down by less than a touchdown, and it takes away the onside kick.
“As I say, you could very well see the kickoff eliminated at some point in time in the future, but I don’t think we’re at that point yet. It still does remain an exciting play, but it’s also a dangerous play. Obviously concussions are on the top of our list in terms of our concerns for the game going forward.”