The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update


January 29, 2013

Jim Bailey: Why does it make sense to take the foot out of football?

National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell is floating a trial balloon suggesting that the NFL eliminate the most fundamental play in football: the kickoff.

Goodell suggests doing so would cut down on serious injuries that happen when the ball is kicked one direction and returned the other. It isn’t the first time the kickoff has been messed with, the ball first kicked from the 40-yard line, then the 35, then the 30 and back to the 35. Now he proposes starting each half and the play following scores by putting the ball on the receiving team’s 30-yard line but in a fourth-down-and-15-yards-to-go situation, either resulting in a punt or a major gamble.

The number of major injuries on kickoff situations has increased over the years, likely because members of the kickoff team are running full tilt in the direction of the kick and the receiving team tries to set up immovable objects to derail the irresistible force. Illegal blocks in the back are commonplace on kickoff situations. Of course that happens on punts too, but so far there’s no suggestion of getting rid of them.

Let’s face it. Football players today are bigger, faster and more skilled than ever before. Rule changes keep coming along to minimize chances of injury in a sport where heavy contact is the name of the game. Greater emphasis on diagnosing and treating concussions follows a growing number of ex-football players who are living (and dying) with scrambled brains.

In my youth I remember the way players used to go helmet first into an opponent, the better to clear their path. I recall an Anderson College game in which my cousin Loren Frendt, a pile-driving fullback, was carrying the ball and was hemmed in by opposing tacklers. He simply lowered his head and drove his way for a couple more yards before he was brought down. Loren’s head survived his football-playing days all right, but he messed up his knee and his football days ended with his sophomore year in college.

These days, leading with the helmet, especially to another player’s helmet, is strictly taboo. But with 300-pounders mixing it up more than 100 times a game, injuries will continue to be a part of the game.

Eliminate kickoffs? Hey, the name of the game is football. The opening kickoff defines the start of the game. It would wind up looking like one of those controlled scrimmages you see during summer training camp or something.

And doing away with the kickoff would eliminate the drama of the onside kick. Ask the Colts about that from their last Super Bowl appearance. Nor would there be any dramatic 100-yard kickoff returns.

The players have already gone on record as decisively opposing doing away with kickoffs.

Football without kickoffs? Sounds like having a designated hitter bat for the pitcher in baseball. But that’s an argument for another time.

Jim Bailey’s column appears on Wednesday. He can be reached by email at jameshenrybailey@earth

Text Only
  • underwood mug [Duplicate] [Duplicate] Scott Underwood: Headlines can capture imagination I'd just left the newspaper office one morning and was driving north on Jackson Street, when I stopped at a red light and glanced at the rearview mirror.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Charo Boyd: 'My Social Security' simplifies your life So many people buzz through extremely busy and complicated schedules these days. A smartphone in one hand, a computer in front of you, and a digital task list that never seems to end. In addition, to complicate things just a little more, there’s another event you need to add to your list — National Simplify Your Life week.

    July 28, 2014

  • Maureen Hayden: 9/11 Commission chair scolds Congress for national security failures Retired Congressman Lee Hamilton has warned of the perils of political ideology, calling the body where he spent 34 years “noxiously partisan.” Now, he worries the divide is downright dangerous.

    July 27, 2014

  • Vaughan, Nancy mug [Duplicate] Nancy Vaughan: Fireworks and fireflies mean summer in full swing Hasn't July been a fabulous month? It began with multiple fireworks venues and parades and ends with fairs and football in full swing. We have been blessed with mild weather and if you haven't had to travel much outside of the county, roadwork has been minimal.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ken de la Bastide: City unions go without contracts for many years How Anderson deals with unions has changed dramatically over the years. In the past it would have been unheard of for union members to continue to work without a contract or an agreed upon deadline. But members of three unions that represent Anderson city employees have been working without a new contract agreement for up to seven years.

    July 26, 2014

  • Jim Bailey: Traveling by passenger train was a page from the past My wife doesn’t remember riding on a full-fledged passenger train as a baby. Our children have never ridden. It’s an experience rapidly going the way of the horse and buggy and the stagecoach throughout a nation now obsessed with jumbo jets and sport-utility vehicles.

    July 26, 2014

  • Howard Hewitt: When it comes to wines, small can be very good Repeating the familiar is an easy way to go through life as is taking the safe road. We all do that but find unexpected rewards when taking the path less traveled. That little bit of philosophy applies to visiting wine country.

    July 26, 2014

  • Maleah Stringer: Hats off to the staff at Animal Protection League I often talk about the wonderful volunteers and community support we have at the Animal Protection League. And that volunteers are every non-profits "life blood" this is true for the Animal Protection League as well.

    July 26, 2014

  • Clark, Big Joe mug 'Big Joe' Clark: Beat the market or meet your goals? True or not, my experience tells me that goals – especially when written down – undoubtedly serve as catalysts for success. However, danger arises when a goal does not properly focus on the long term result you expect.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Verna Davis: Seek peace by turning from evil and doing good There's something we all want: peace. World peace. Family peace. Personal peace. We yearn for peace, a feeling of freedom from commotion and antagonism, of harmony in our relationships, of lack of strife or dissension. What would we do to have peace in our lives?

    July 25, 2014

Featured Ads
More Resources from The Herald Bulletin
AP Video
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Helium debate
Front page

Do you plan to attend one of the public sessions about the Mounds Lake reservoir project?

Not sure yet
     View Results