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Grant Cohn: Schiano has plan to dump NFL kickoffs

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano on the sidelines during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Miami Dolphins, Saturday, Aug.24, 2013 in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano has said in the past that he wants to replace kickoffs and onside kicks and he has alternatives worth considering.

First, replace kickoffs with punts. On kickoffs, players line up on opposite sides of the field and sprint and smash into each other. But on punts, players line up near each other, just a few feet apart, and there is no sprint-and-smash.

Second, replace onside kicks with a play from scrimmage, no kicking allowed. The play would start as a fourth-and-15 from the offense's 30-yard line. This would be safer than an onside kick, the equivalent of football roulette where players line up 10 yards away from each other and crash together. There is hardly any strategy. The way the oblong ball bounces usually determines who recovers it.

In addition to being safer, a play from scrimmage might be more exciting than an onside kick because a play from scrimmage involves much more thinking. And a fourth-and-15 could be perfect because fourth-and-15s have been converted 21.8 percent of the time since 2001, and onside kicks have been successful 21.4 percent of the time over the same period, according to ESPNStats and Info, which is nearly the same success rate.

Both of Schiano's changes would make football safer by removing the biggest collisions.


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