NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell took some time to speak with the NFL bloggers here at SBNation and addressed a whole slate of different issues facing the league. He spoke for a good half hour, so I'm probably going to split this up into a few different posts.
One of the first questions he fielded was about the new rule changes we learned about this week, specifically moving the kickoffs up five yards. My reaction was that this could basically take the kickoff out of the game as a competitive play. He was asked whether he thought that was the case.
"The major focus we have our competition committee meets and looks at our rules is player health and safety. We obviously also meet with our players and our players have indicated to us that this is one of those plays that they think we need to address from a safety standpoint. We have been looking at this for quite some time and the competition committee in their studying of this, in order to make the game as safe as possible have been looking at changes that would make that play safer. We look at injury rates, we everything that goes into the quality of our game including obviously the competitive aspects of it. We want to make this game safe, we want to make it exciting, we want to make it competitive but the rules will be the same for all 32 clubs."
The interesting thing in there is that he says that the players are the ones who have brought this up as something that needs to be changed. It's fair to say that there's probably no play that's more violent than a kickoff, because you've basically got two teams running at one another full speed looking to blow one another up. It's fairly common to see guys slow to get up after a kickoff.