WHEREAS, seemingly 90% of kickoffs have been reduced to a tedious touchback, turning the most exciting play in football into a pointless, mind-numbing ritual,
WHEREAS, similarly, the extra point play is extra pointless (see what I did there?!?!)
WHEREAS, recent news indicates that the commissioner's office is considering removing the kickoff altogether,
WHEREAS, scientific studies show that 87% of football fans hate kickers,
WHERAS, placekickers and punters are not widely regarded as real football players, yet they are infuriatingly handed the keys to the game in high-leverage situations that they had nothing to do with creating,
WHEREAS, everyone loves it when you go for it on fourth down,
WHEREAS, roughing the kicker and the fair catch are arbitrary rules designed to protect player safety, but they make no sense in the spirit of the game of football.
WHEREAS, the safety is one of the most exciting plays in football.
WHEREAS, 75% of punters and kickers in the NFL are foreign-born, and last time I checked THIS IS AMERICA.
WHEREAS, it has been more than half a century since dropkicks, running punts, and the like were remotely relevant,
I have a proposition for how to fix football and, along the way, make it even more fun. Are you ready? Here it is.
No kicking. Ever.
I loved watching Brian Mitchell, and I will miss kickoff returns, but the writing is on the wall. The return game is getting phased out. With it will die the last redeeming element of the kicking game. We will miss the Brian MItchells and Devin Hesters of the world, but they are already gone.Without them, those European guys with mismatched shoes and skinny facemasks are a waste of time, and they will be easily forgotten.
So how could this work?
(1) Four downs, then you lose the ball.
It's fourth and long, and you're concerned about field position? Maybe you should have thought about that before you burned your first three downs. If you had thrown a 40-50 yard hail mary on second or third down, the defense might have taken the bait.
(2) Touch what? Touch where? Touch who, now?
What's a touchback? Football is a war of territory and end zones are end zones. The ball never magically appears at some special place like the 20 yard line, the 35 yard line, the 2 yard line, or anywhere else. If the other team scores on you, you get the ball on your goal line. If you're pinned for a safety, you get a fresh set of downs.
(4) Two ways to score.
Take the ball into your opponent's end zone, or stuff your opponent in their own end zone. That's it. Tear down those hideous goalposts. This isn't Rugby. This is America. And sometimes the UK for reasons I still don't really get.
(3) Safeties. Not extra points. Not two-point conversions.
Extra points are rarely blocked. Two-point conversions are interesting, but arbitrary. A team has an opportunity to build on a touchdown by keeping the opponent in their own end zone.
(4) No free kicks, obviously
Great defenses can pound bad offenses like a speed bag, racking up multiple conversions. An offense with their backs to the wall who wants to trade possession for field position, as one does in a punt or free kick, can throw up a designed hail mary for interception.
(F) Field goals
Field? What? What does that even mean? Does not exist. Haven't you been paying attention? Forward kicks are illegal. We're taking the foot out of football. No ambiguous intentional fumbles, either, if a ball is kicked it's dead. 5 yards and loss of down.
Boom. Dudes, line up on my right for high fives. Ladies, line up on my left for make-outs. Commissioner, you're welcome.