This Accountant’s Idea for Eliminating Kickoffs in the NFL

NOTE: I wrote this post in 2012, so be aware of its age. Also it has nothing at all to do with taxes. But I’m leaving it up as a human-interest diversion. I still think this idea of no kickoffs would be interesting to experiment with.


Roger Goodell, the commissioner of the National Football League, has floated the idea of eliminating kickoffs. Instead of a kickoff after a team scores, the team that scored would get the ball at its own 30 yard line in a 4th down and 15 yards to go situation. The team would have the choice of punting, or trying to convert a 1st down (and if they fail, the other team would get the ball in great field position).

I’m a stat geek and a sports fan (baseball is really my first love). When I was in high school, I was the statistician for the basketball team, and worked as a spotter in the football press box.

I also started a fantasy football league when I was 15 — long before fantasy football really became popular. And I even tried to create a football power rating system from scratch.

Yes, I was, and still am, a nerd.

So I bounce ideas around in my head about sports all the time. Even before Goodell came out with his idea, I’ve been toying with an idea that calls for not just eliminating kickoffs, but eliminating the entire kicking game from football altogether.

My proposal is this:

  1. No more kickoffs, punts, field goals or extra-point kicks. The objective of football is to get the ball into the endzone. So, reward teams that get the ball into the end zone.
  2. The team that gets the ball first would not receive a kickoff. Instead, the ball would simply be placed at a certain yard line (probably that team’s own 35) and play would proceed from there, the same as always. Except ….
  3. No punting, no field goals. If it’s 4th down, you have to go for it. If you don’t convert, the other team gets the ball.
  4. Touchdowns are still worth 6 points. After a score, the scoring team goes for the 2-point conversion. If they convert, they get to keep possession of the football, 1st and 10 at their own 35. If they fail to convert, the other team gets the ball at its own 35 yard line. Right now, 2-point conversions take place from the 2 yard line, and the conversion rate is usually around 50%. I would propose moving the conversion back to, say, the 5 yard line, to add to the degree of difficulty.

There are plenty of flaws with my idea, but it’s something I cooked up earlier this football season.