The Kickoff Rules Being Tested in the Pro Bowl Are Remarkably Stupid
First they came for the kickoff and I said nothing, for I was not a kickoff returner. Then they came for the onside kick and I said nothing, for I was not on the hands team. And then there was nobody left to speak when they came for me.
Obviously having these things in the Pro Bowl is a far cry from having them implemented into the NFL rulebook, but it does at least show that some people in positions of power would possibly like to see this happen.
Getting rid of special teams fundamentally changes the entire game of football. The kickoff has the potential to be one of the most exciting plays in sports. Remember how awesome Cordarrelle Patterson's touchdown earlier this season was?
Patterson isn't a great wide receiver, but he's an elite returner who has the ability to flip a game on one kickoff. Taking that out of the game would be remarkably disappointing.
And then there's the onside kick alternative, which would radically change the game of football. In 2019, teams recovered 13 percent of onside kicks. Football Outsiders concluded in 2011 that the success rate of a 4th-and-15 play was about 12.5 percent. So while the numbers seemingly check out, it just doesn't sit right with me after watching football for two decades that you now might get a chance with Patrick Mahomes or Lamar Jackson to keep the ball rather than having to rely on your kicker.
And there will always be the player safety argument, but the NFL has proven it is not really interested in player safety, except when it's a convenient excuse for a rule change it wants to make.
Special teams are a part of the game. Save the kickoff.