New York Giants owner John Mara, a member of the NFL's Competition Committee, says he can see a day in which kickoffs will be eliminated from football.
“We had a lot of discussions about whether we should eliminate it and if we did, what we could do in its place,” Mara told Giants.com. “There’s no consensus on it right now, but I could see the day in the future where that play could be taken out of the game. You see it evolving toward that.”
Last year, the league moved kickoffs from the 30-yard line to the 35 as a safety measure, which Mara says is the committee’s top priority. He adds that the increase in touchbacks last year coincided with a decrease in concussions. Although there is little interest in eliminating kickoffs at this point, Mara pointed out that "There was no support for moving the kickoff back to the 30 yard-line."
Mara says the NFL won’t eliminate the kickoff until it has the right plan for how to get rid of it, but he seems to think the play is fundamentally unsafe.
“Nobody would go that far now, but we talk about different blocks that we can outlaw,” Mara said. “The problem is that the concussions come from everywhere -- from the wedge, from the crossing blocks where a guy goes from one side of the field to another, from a full speed collision between a return guy and a tackler. So there’s no one thing that you can do. It’s something that we'll continue to watch as closely as possible.”