Kick it to the curb?

Changing the elements of the game can be a weird twist for players, fans, coaches and front office executives. The outcome is not always favorable at first but once the dust clears things settle in. NFL owners will vote on what is best for the players and the game, keep in mind rule changes are much different than changing the structure of the game.

The MLB has gone through several changes. In 1887 the distance between the pitcher and home plate was moved from 50 ft to 55 1/2 ft, and during this time period there was not a pitching mound and the pitchers threw from a box. Early in 1893, the pitching box was removed and the pitching mound was introduced to the game along with the rubber plate (24 inches) that allowed the pitchers to push off during delivery, this plate is located 60 ft – 6 inches from home plate. MLB again changed the height of the mound in 1969 from 15 inches high to 10 inches; this was not because of safety but the 1968 big boom in statistics.

In 1956, the late great Wilt Chamberlain forced the NCAA to establish a rule requiring that all players performing free throws keep both feet behind the free throw line during an attempt, prior to that ruling Chamberlain would run and jump at the hoop, dunking the ball. A short time after, the NBA adopted the same game change.

The NBA, MLB and NCAA game changes were for statistical reasons, for the NFL it is purely for safety. Commissioner Goodell has suggested that the NFL might eliminate kickoffs from the game of football all together and of course this sent a rippling effect across the NFL.

Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano suggested that instead of kickoffs teams could have the option of punting from the 30-yard line and going for a first down in a fourth-and-15 situation (in place of an on-sides kick). Goodell has called Schiano’s idea “interesting.”

Coach Fisher was asked about the possible kickoff proposal, “First off, I don’t know if it’s a proposal. I think he just, I think somebody asked him, I think he just – I’m not speaking for him, I didn’t see it – but, his focus is on player safety. I’m sure it will be something that will be addressed once the committee gets together in February. But that’s just…there’s been a lot of different things that have come up. Obviously, if you look at what we’ve done with the kickoff when we moved it up from the 30 (-yard line) to the 35 (-yard line) we haven’t had…well, the injury numbers have gone down significantly since the move two years ago. There’s been some talk – I think (Giants President and Chief Executive Officer John) Mr. Mara, may have mentioned over a period of time, maybe there will be some consideration that we’ll remove it from the game completely, but those things will be discussed during the offseason.”

Joshua Cribbs, who was knocked out early in the season returning a kick, shares the NFL record for kickoff return touchdowns with Seattle Seahawks Leon Washington, was quoted, “banning the kickoff would change the league drastically,” and that if the move was made the NFL would be “just like intramurals.”

Softli’s Week 14 predictions

Denver @ Oakland = Broncos (tweeted this prediction on Thursday via @SoftliSTL)

San Diego @ Pittsburgh = Steelers

Atlanta @ Carolina = Falcons

Chicago @ Minnesota = Bears

St. Louis @ Buffalo = Rams

Kansas City @ Cleveland = Browns

Philadelphia @ Tampa bay = Buccaneers

NYJ @ Jacksonville = Jaguars

Dallas @ Cincinnati = Bengals

Tennessee @ Indianapolis = Colts

Baltimore @ Washington = Ravens

Miami @ San Francisco = 49ers

New Orleans @ NYG = Giants

Arizona @ Seattle = Seahawks

Detroit @ Green Bay = Packers

Houston @ New England = Patriots

I’m not a professional odds maker. Please, please don’t bet the farm or mortgage the house on the above information, even though I’m 122-72-1 after Week 13 and totals include week 14 NFL TNF winner. I pick games straight-up, concentrating on NFL team rankings both offensively and defensively, injuries, overall statistics, schemes, 53 man roster personnel and I evaluate a lot of film.