SB Nation contributor Rodger Sherman argues we should get rid of kickoffs entirely. 59.1 percent of kickoffs result in a touchback, meaning the majority of plays have no real "action." Plus, kickoffs actually kill a number of high-school children each year:
"A disproportionate amount of these deaths come from kickoffs. Last season 11 high school football players died, and seven of those deaths were a direct result of on-field injuries. Three of these seven injuries happened on kickoffs, which do not make up 43 percent of football plays."
Former NFL rules officiant and FOX Sports analyst Mike Pereira says eliminating the kickoff would strip something fundamental from the game. Sure, not every return is for a touchdown, but when it does happen—it's game-changing. The move would also all but eliminate the onside kick, which removes a key, strategic move for many teams.
"Gale Sayers, Brian Mitchell, Devin Hester — these are some of the marquee names that changed games with their performances on kickoffs. Why would the league want to eliminate these types of players and plays?"
USA Today sports writer Steve Ruiz says we should just stop fussing with the kickoff and get rid of it. Moving the kickoff spot has made the sport safer, but the number of players good enough to make an exciting play within the new rules is limited to just a few. And there's no clear argument for keeping it around anymore. Let's stop goofing around and just put the kickoff out of its misery:
"You cut out a fourth of all concussions in an instant. Targeting and 'defenseless receiver' flags will never have that big of an effect. Let’s stop delaying the inevitable and just get rid of the kickoff already."
Several players whose careers would be in jeopardy without the kickoff return, are publicly advocating to preserve the play. Detroit tailback Ameer Abdullah is just one of several players who credit kickoff returns for changing momentum, capable of thrusting teams to victories and fans out of their seats:
"It's one of the most exciting plays in football. It's a play that changes the game, especially if you have a game where the offenses and defenses are matching each other. The kickoff return makes a difference. And what happens with onside kicks? Do they take that away too?"
Many fans are tired of the kickoff. It's hard to get excited about watching 260 pound men, who can run the 40-yard dash in just 4.6 seconds, hurtle down the field to make an unnecessarily dangerous play—but routinely ends with a yawn.