After voting to move touchbacks to the 25-yard-line, the NFL, it seems, is trying to outlaw kick returns, which have always been an integral part of football.
Granted, the league wants to curtail the number of concussions, but is this rule the right way for the league to go?
“Not at all,” former Pro Bowl returner Dante Hall said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “I’m sure in your lifetime you met a lot of smart dumb people. That’s what we have going on in the league offices: a lot of smart dumb asses. They’re trying to outlaw things, and they’re trying to do it based on eliminating concussions. We had Ben Utecht on our show yesterday, and I thought he said it perfectly. It is a gladiator-type sport. It’s an aggressive game. All the players, all we ever wanted was to have the knowledge. Don’t withhold knowledge from us, okay? We know what concussions are now. We know the ramifications and the lifelong effects. Now let us make a decision whether or not we want to continue playing. And 99.9 percent of the guys would still play anyway. So the issue wasn’t the actual concussions. The issue was the withholding of information on concussions and the improper treatment of concussions. Okay, if a guy gets dinged up, we know the protocol now. We know how to care for this guy. But don’t start tinkering with the integrity of the game and eliminating integral parts of what makes football football.”
Interestingly enough, the rule seems to be having the exact opposite effect that the league intended. During the 2015 regular season, 41.1 percent of kickoffs were returned. Through the first two weeks of the preseason, 67 percent have been returned.
That’s quite a spike.
“If you watch the preseason with this new rule, which is so dumb, coaches and kickers are now just going to pooch-kick it or pop it up a little higher and try to tackle you inside the 25,” Hall explained. “I think there’s been more returns this preseason than there has been since 2011, when the new collective bargaining came in and they tried to start focusing on concussions. So yeah, I think it’s asinine to even think you can eliminate concussions by taking out certain parts of the game – traditional parts of the game, at that.”