New York Giants co-owner John Mara has long said the NFL was “evolving” away from the kickoff, which the league has identified as perhaps the single most dangerous play in football, and there have already been signs that the play could be on its way out.
Last season touchbacks were moved from the 20- to the 25-yard line in an effort to increase the number of touchbacks and therefore decrease the contact on those plays, and the measure worked swimmingly according to Mara, who serves on the Competition Committee with Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones, among others.
One major roadblock is the question of the onside kick—how do you hold onto that very exciting play if kickoffs are done away with completely?—but Mara still believes the league will continue moving away from the kickoff on the whole.
“We’re not at the point where we want to take the kickoff out of the game completely, although we may be moving in that direction,” Mara told the Giants’ official website. “One of the concerns is what do you do in a situation where you’ve scored late in the game and you’re down by less than a touchdown, and it takes away the onside kick. As I say, you could very well see the kickoff eliminated at some point in time in the future, but I don’t think we’re at that point yet. It still does remain an exciting play, but it’s also a dangerous play. Obviously concussions are on the top of our list in terms of our concerns for the game going forward.”