The NFL owners meeting took place in Orlando this past week, and with it came a lot of changes.
This is when the big guns sit down to discuss potential rule changes and, in case you didn’t see, Dez caught it. But you knew that. Let’s move on.
There’s another new emphasis on targeting, and people are upset about it, but the focus here today isn’t a rule that actually passed... it’s one that could eventually pass soon. The NFL is flirting with the idea of eliminating kickoffs from the game.
Packers president Mark Murphy, a competition committee member, sounds warning on future of kickoffs: "If you don't make changes to make it safer, we're going to do away with it. It's that serious.” https://t.co/IGgS65p208— Kevin Seifert (@SeifertESPN) March 28, 2018
It’s admirable that the NFL wants to make the game safer for its players. I don’t think there is anyone among us that is not for this. Of course, it’s also insanely ironic that the NFL is going to such great lengths to protect their own, but they ignore every request from the players themselves to get rid of Thursday Night Football. But hey, whatever.
Getting rid of kickoffs would eliminate what can be one of the game’s most exciting plays. We can all name a big-time return that completely changed a game or was just epic in nature. The NFL won’t be eliminating it in 2018, but what if they hypothetically did in 2019?
What if injuries didn’t slow down? What if they continue to be attributed at a high rate as occurring on kickoffs, and a year from now we’re talking about the NFL getting rid of kickoffs?
More importantly, what if the Cowboys are one year removed from drafting a player partially because of his ability to help them in the return game? We know they’re feeling Texas A&M’s Christian Kirk and his ability to help in that facet of the game.
Christian Kirk went though a pretty lengthy special teams workout with Cowboys special teams coordinator Keith O’Quinn. The two of them had a lengthy chat walking off the field when it was over. #cowboyswire— David Helman (@HelmanDC) March 27, 2018
We’re dealing in hypotheticals here, but what if the Cowboys choose Christian Kirk over [insert name here] because his skills as a return man made the difference? And what if that exact point is rendered halfway moot a year from now because kickoffs are done away with?
The Cowboys can only operate within the rules of engagement that currently exist, but it would be unfortunate if what they believe to be an advantage moving forward is nullified by the NFL rules committee (not like they’ve impacted the Cowboys before though, am I right). It would be silly to ask the Cowboys not to draft a player on the potential that the rules committee doesn’t change what they’re threatening to, and that’s part of this whole mess.
It’s hard for any team to operate while trying to strengthen their skills in the kick return game in the here and now due to fear of the future. The NFL is hamstringing their teams without realizing it because there might be an inspiration of doubt to invest heavily for it all to come undone in the near future.
If Dallas wants to draft Christian Kirk (or whoever) party because they believe they have a viable return man option in him (they arguably have one in Ryan Switzer obviously), they should do it. But there’s no denying that it’s maybe investing in a sinking commodity. It’s an unfortunate situation that the league has created.