DETROIT — Roger Goodell went public with an interesting proposal that would eliminate kickoffs from the NFL — and dramatically change Jason Hanson’s job as Lions kicker.
Goodell told Time magazine about a suggestion first made by Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano where a team, rather than kicking off, would get the ball at its own 30 in a fourth-and-15 situation. It could either punt or try for a conversion.
The idea would be to get rid of one of the game’s most dangerous plays, and the conversion attempt essentially would replace the onside kick.
“That’s interesting,” said Hanson, in his 21st NFL season. “I don’t want to say anything off the cuff here to eliminate my job. I just think again that they’re thinking of everything. But gosh, getting rid of a kickoff is — look at all the advertisements. Everything’s kickoff. Not a punt off or a fourth-and-15 off. So, yeah, I don’t know what to say about that.”
It’s unclear how seriously the proposal is being considered, but the NFL has been seeking ways to make the kickoff safer for years.
Last season, the league moved kickoffs from the 30-yard line to the 35, a change that increased the number of touchbacks and decreased the number of injuries.