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In the end, the result of the kickoff may not change much

In the end, the result of the kickoff may not change much
In the end, the result of the kickoff may not change much

We’ve considered the possibility that the revolutionary new kickoff formation will result in many teams kicking the ball out of the end zone and abandoning the 30-yard line to begin a drive. As the start of the season approaches, it’s becoming clearer that teams will seriously consider doing this – perhaps sooner rather than later.

I have already predicted that by the trade deadline on Tuesday after Week 9 half of the league will kick the ball out of the end zone. That could be low and too late.

Consider this. Cowboys special teams coordinator John Fassel said earlier this year that the expected starting position in the new XFL-style kickoff formation will be the 28- or 29-yard line, so why not just give up an extra yard or two and avoid the possibility of a long return or a touchdown?

Then there’s the possibility, as one smart coach recently explained, that some teams will choose to kick out of the end zone early in the season so the game can be studied by the teams that choose to be guinea pigs. And that makes a lot of sense. A long return in Week 1 could be the difference between winning and losing. Come Week 18, that loss that could have been a win could be the reason the team misses the playoffs. Which could lead to the coach being fired.

Coaches want to control what they can control. They can control the performance of the defense better than the dice roll involved in putting the ball in play in the new method of electric football, which freezes 19 players in place until the kick is caught or hits the field in the landing zone.

In the original development, the starting point for kickoffs from the end zone with the new formation would have been the 35. The proposal was revised over the weekend before the owners discussed and voted on the new kickoff formation.

The simple solution would be to move it back to 35. However, a few weeks ago, a source familiar with the dynamics said it was too late for that.

So it’s the 30 – unless something unrealistic, unexpected and unconventional happens. And if it’s the 30, the dead game could fall back on artificial respiration. It will be far from resurrected.

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