I’ve been a football fan for as long as I can remember, sitting in the living room with my granddad watching the Cowboys play on TV, my love for the game was instilled within me from an early age. I could waste a day watching the pregame show, the noon game, America’s game of the week, then Sunday Night Football, and not regret it for a second. I’ve seen the rise and fall of great teams, the mediocrity of others, but over the twenty plus years I’ve been watching, there is one thing that hasn’t changed, too many players run the ball out of the end zone on a kickoff, which is undeniably the stupidest play in football.
The NFL regular season ended yesterday, and after sixteen games, only seven touchdowns were scored on kick off returns, and all but two of the teams in the league averaged under twenty-five yards per return. The data is simple and straightforward, the likelihood of anyone scoring a touchdown on a kick off are very small, and not only won’t you score, but on average you won’t even make it back to the twenty-five yard line, a freebie if you just take the touchback. It’s not a secret, all of this information is on ESPN.com for anybody to see, but every week I see some idiot from two feet deep in the end zone, think that they will be the exception to the statistic, return the kick to the twenty-two yard line where they are hit so hard that they’re lucky to walk away without a concussion.
There are coaches on NFL teams solely dedicated to special teams, yet nobody seems to be able to figure this out. I would happily sign on as a consultant somewhere, rake in a six figure salary, and explain my genius method that will lessen player injury and give the team better starting field position throughout the game. It’s a pretty difficult skill to master, but I’m sure if we put in enough work at practice, the returners can learn how to take a knee in no time, or if for some reason they aren’t up for that challenge, I’ll move on to teaching something so simple a caveman can do it, take one step to the left whilst keeping their hands hanging at their side. If someone as un-athletic as me or Tim Tebow can figure out how to do these things, I bet these million dollar NFL athletes can too.
I know that not everyone in the national football league graduated from college, but it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that returning kickoffs hurts you more often than not. If you don’t catch a normal kickoff, it will bounce into the end zone every single time, and your team can start with the ball at the twenty-five yard line, and the returner doesn’t risk injury by trying to make the impossible happen. I didn’t like teams returning kickoffs back when touchbacks only put the ball at the twenty, because it was a struggle to even get that, but now that the line is five yards further, you have to be an idiotic lunatic to run the ball out of the end zone, because you’re not only risking your health, but you’re risking field position as well, and the statistics show that most of the time, it’s just not worth the risk.