The Disappointment Zone

Musings from a Cleveland sports fan

New college football rule

Posted by disappointmentzone on 16 August 2007

A few football coaches are unhappy with the new rule that moves kickoffs back from the 35 yard line to the 30 yard line, from where the big boys in the NFL kick off. The worry is that the extra five yards will result in more injuries as injuries tend to happy more often during big open field plays when a lot of big, strong guys are running fast at each other. The defenders won’t benefit from the extra five yards but the return men will, presumably, which will create more exciting plays and more opportunities from freak TD celebration injuries in national championship games.

The concern for the players’ safety is lovely and all, but it comes wrapped in a blanket of insincerity. But I’m not going to get into that right now.

What I want to say is that five yards won’t make much of a difference. Without rules regulating the condition of the footballs used for kickoffs coaches need not worry much about the rule change pushing back the kickoff line. Instead of kickoffs sailing through the endzone — wasn’t it fun to see if the guys could make it through the uprights? — kickoffs will sail about seven yards deep into the endzone. If a D-1 team doesn’t have a kicker who can’t place it that deep into the endzone from the 30 yard line then they need to hire a ball boy that knows how to use a microwave. Put a ball in there and it’ll be flying.

If the NCAA is interested in increasing kickoff returns then they ought to put in place an NFL-type rule about the kicking balls. If the coaches are interested in the safety of their players they ought to be calling for this rule change as well. (1)

fn 1: This post sucks. Sorry about that. There really are good reasons why football condition rules and not kickoff line rules are the way to simultaneously increase kickoff return while decreasing the likelihood of injuries. I just don’t have the energy to type them out right now.

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