According to a report from NFL.com, NFL executive Troy Vincent said the NFL will be keeping kickoffs. Roger Goodell said that the NFL would consider eliminating kickoffs if there were no changes to make the game safer. Kickoffs are among the most exciting and game changing plays in football. It would be a shame to lose such a critical part of the game. Tyler Lockett led the NFL in total yards per kickoff with 949. Lockett averaged 25.6 yards per return on kickoffs.
There is a lot of evidence to support the danger of kickoffs, mostly due to concussions. There are a lot of high impact blocks that are done to ensure returners have enough space to either put the offense in scoring position or better yet score a touchdown. The blocks typically happen very fast and combined with the strength of the hits, the chance of an injury seems relatively high. The most notable issue with kickoffs is Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy or CTE. This disease is a result of multiple concussions. Some sacks and targeting hits also contribute to CTE. There are many retired players battling CTE and the disease is known to shorten lifespans. Junior Seau and Mike Webster are among the big names of football players diagnosed with CTE. Webster was the first player diagnosed with the disease.
The Conversation of eliminating kickoffs back in March
Some medical doctors wanted kickoffs to be eliminated and Goodell listened. There will be modifications on kickoffs due to these safety concerns. In an interview last March regarding the elimination of kickoffs, Vincent said, “We talked about at length.” “The data that we now collect, with the data and the research, the science and the video, tying all those things together.”We understand that we’re at a place, college football is adjusting, high school and at the peewee level.”