NFL considering modifying kickoff rules

The league appears to be taking a harder stance on player safety, insofar as in-game safety is concerned, though the players' calls for reduction or elimination of Thursday night games have been unaddressed so far.

Kahron Spearman

The NFL will not abolish kickoffs for this upcoming season but will look for modifications during their future meetings. Any modification, however, could take effect as soon as the 2018 season, according to ESPN.


Troy Vincent, the NFL's executive vice president of football operations, said the league and the players' union will find ways to "protect players from unnecessary risk." 

It really makes me ask the question, 'Where do you go from here?' What would happen next? I don't know the answer to that. I don't know. But I look at a number of plays. I look at a goal-line stand. I look at a third-and-1. Think about the collisions that are happening there. Those may be deemed unsafe by some people, so if you make a drastic change such as this, what's next? What happens? The reality is football. This is a contact sport. This is a violent sport. All of us that are playing the game understand that there are inherent risks that come along with playing the game. If you're not OK with those risks, I respect that, and maybe you should think about doing something else.

As the game's most dangerous play, the kickoff has long been a concern, especially more so with news of an increase of reported concussions.


The league received data in March that showed concussions were five times more likely to occur on kickoffs than any other play even following changes to reduce the number of kickoffs during a game.

Major player-safety meetings are set to begin on Tuesday, which will principally cover what to do with kickoffs and settling new (potentially game-altering) rules for helmet use during collisions.


Owners have already approved a rule that penalizes players for lowering their heads to initiate contact a broadband change that could alter the NFL. 


The NFL has also joined the NFL Players Association in banning the use of 10 helmet models.