In order to help ‘deal with injury numbers’, The National Football League is looking into kickoff modifications, according to news reports this week. Indicating that it was a matter of safety, along with possible suspensions for player who make illegal hits, the NFL is recommending that kickoffs be moved from the 30- to the 35-yard line — as it was before 1994.
Another change would be to have kicking team members line up within five yards of the ball. This would prevent the kicking team members from lining up 10-15 yards behind the ball to get a running start. By the time these offensive players got downfield, they were at full speed. The sound of the impact when 300 pounds of professional football player, sprinting at top speed, strikes another player moving in the opposite direction at maximum velocity, it something not soon forgotten. The momentum of each player (speed times mass) is truly shocking. The league recognizes the potential for devastating and career ending head, neck and brain injuries and is looking into way to modify the game while still keeping its essential features. As players get larger, faster and stronger, I hope that there safety modifications will help to reduce the permanent injuries and on field carnage that is becoming an all too regular part of the gridiron sport.