Jim Daopoulos just doesn’t get it.
The former NFL official and current ESPN Monday Night Football Rules Analyst looks at the league’s dramatic rules changes to the kickoff to shrink the space of the play and slow collisions — effectively making it look more like a punt — and shakes his head.
‘Why don’t they just put the ball at the 25-yard line?’
With such drastic steps being taken in the name of safety, Daopoulos wonders, why not simply do away with the kickoff altogether?
“I actually can see them eliminating the kickoff completely in the next couple of years,” he told Vic Carucci and Dan Leberfeld on Late Hits. “I think it’s really going to come down to that. And I don’t even know why they keep the kickoff in the game by putting these new rules in. Why don’t they just put the ball at the 25-yard line? It’ll make it a whole lot simpler for everybody and really eliminate a lot of injuries.”
‘I guess it frustrates me a little bit that the NFL doesn’t have any type of developmental program’
Daopoulos expects officiating the kickoff will be “very difficult initially.” He thinks it will take time for crews to familiarize themselves with the various new formations that special teams coaches are expected to implement.
“They’re going to try to learn policies and procedures, how the special teams coaches attack these new rules during the preseason,” Daopoulos said. “I guess it frustrates me a little bit that the NFL doesn’t have any type of developmental program like it used to with the NFL Europe, where they could implement some of these new rules and give the officials an opportunity to work it.
‘As an official, it’s going to be a whole new landscape for them to try to watch this’
“But I understand what the league is doing. It’s all about safety. Whenever they implement a new rule, it has to do with safety or increase in scoring. So what they’re trying to do is they’re really trying to be aware of the safety factor and, as an official, it’s going to be a whole new landscape for them to try to watch this — where they can’t get a running start, where they have the eight men in the box, where they only have three men deep, very limited blocking, where they can’t have the wedge blocking.”
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