Greg Schiano explains theory on replacing kickoffs

  • By Dan Hanzus
  • Around the League Writer
  • Updated: Dec. 7, 2012 at 02:30 p.m.

Perhaps the most interesting thing to come out of the recent TIME profile on NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was the radical alternative to kickoffs credited to Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano.

As relayed by TIME's Sean Gregory, Schiano proposes that after a touchdown or field goal, the scoring team retains possession, getting the football on its own 30, facing fourth-and-15. The team can either go for it, or punt it away. In effect, punts would replace kickoffs.

"I understand traditionalists don't agree, but there used to not be the forward pass, too, and the game would be pretty boring without it, so," Schiano told reporters on Friday. "I'm not saying it's right or wrong, I'm just saying you've got to be able to think outside and whatever is best for the players, because at the end of the day these guys are the ones that are putting it on the line."

Schiano's idea wasn't one that came off the top of his head. He researched it during his tenure at Rutgers. He was coaching the Scarlet Knights when Eric LeGrand suffered a severe spinal injury on a kickoff in 2010.

"One of the things that when I was researching, I think it was like, in the old kickoff rules 17 percent of the catastrophic injuries happened on kickoffs, yet it's only about 6 percent of the plays in the game," Schiano said. "Well, that is disproportionate. Things like that are the reasons that led me there, but obviously it's a personal thing with me because of Eric LeGrand."

Schiano was still the Rutgers coach when he first discussed his idea with Goodell.

"This is just something that I dreamed up and as I said to him I'm not sure all the details are there," Schiano said. " ... But I think you could have a lot of exciting stuff. You know, you open the game with a blocked punt or you open the game, who knows what could happen, fake punt?"

Food for thought.