Now that the league has adopted new rules for KO/KO return I wanted to post an idea I have had for more than 2 years and one that I actually pitched to some NFL coaches and union player reps. When I mentioned it, I got everything from 'rolling eyes' to laughs... but I wanted to write it down.
By the way- this came out of a concern I have had for a long time about the safety of players on KO/KO returns- it is one of the most physical plays of a football game. I first thought of my idea after watching a Titans game and seeing that both teams were using OFFENSIVE linemen as wedge setters in the back wall. These are fast 300 lb men running all out and having LB's and Safeties hit them full speed!
The Coach Jay Mathews NFL Return Plan:
#1- The Kickoff is no longer a scoring play- it is just about starting field position. The worst a team can start with is the -20 and the best a team can start with is the -45. The only change is after a safety where the field position is adjusted according to the kick-off from the 20.
#2 So team A will kick-off after a score- team B will try to return it out to the 45- but the play is blown dead once a player reaches the 45. Also, there cannot be a turnover on the kickoff- any fumbles recovered by the kick-off team goes back to the 20.
#3 There are still onside kicks- but must be an option selected by the scoring team. There are no surprise onside kicks.
#4 (AND HERE IS WHERE IT GETS CRAZY)- Each NFL team will hire weekly their kick-off and return team. There is an open tryout for the team during every preseason, coming up with a pool of eligible players. On Wednesday of each game week the team will select 15 players from the qualified pool who will make up the starters and back-ups on these teams for the Sunday game.
1) Player must reside within a 45 mile radius of the stadium. Has had to be there more than 12 months.
2) The player cannot exceed 6' or weigh more than 180 lbs.
3) The player must have a physical on file, proof of insurance, and sign a waiver.
4) Players practice on Thursday/Friday- play on Sunday.
5) Each player is paid 250.00 for his participation.
So you get a chance for some local yokel heroes to play for their team- the ultimate 12th man!
Can't you imagine some of the crazies that we would watch go after it and some of the amazing plays made while fighting for starting field position! And the high money guys are protected. All volunteer and just for the fun/glory of it!
Kind of like the story of the Eagles player who came out of the local population......
I also thought of having 2 captains from these teams run out and fight for the ball the way the XFL did it- I thought that was funny!
Anyway- this is not the type of thing the league goes for- but would be a ratings boom!
Back to the real world.......