It's an added bonus for any team to have a player capable of scoring on special teams. A few years ago, when kickoffs were moved to the 30-yard line to the 35-yard line, it was thought that returning kicks would be all but eliminated.
But a select few, Jones among those, still returned kicks eight yards deep in the end zone. Jones, in fact, had a 108-yard kickoff return in Baltimore's Super Bowl XLVII victory over San Francisco.
Now, one NFL team is proposing a change in the rule.
This, from the recent NFL conference call with reporters on proposed rule changes, from league spokesman Greg Aiello:
"The first one is Washington pro posing to move the kickoff to the 40 yard line for safety and historic consistency reasons."
This would essentially eliminate kickoffs altogether. The only reason to still have kickoffs at this point is to keep the onside kick a part of the game. Otherwise, what's the point? If you're going to cite player safety then let's just start each drive at the 20 since touchbacks will be 100 percent inevitable.
Even the kickers that are unable to boom the ball out of the end zone from the 35 will be able to kick the ball deep enough to record touchback after touchback.
Funny that this particular rule change is coming from the Redskins, a team that fielded one of the NFL's worst special get rid of that aspect of the game. The Ravens, which focus a great deal of time on special teams, strategically brought in one of the best kickoff returners two years ago and re-signed him this offseason. Why should be he become irrelevant in that aspect of his skill set all of a sudden?
It's a facade and nothing more to hide behind the shroud of player safety with this issue, too. Players have as good of a chance to get injured on an offensive and defensive play as they would on special teams. It's football. The only way to prevent major injuries in a sport where heads are inevitably going to collide with one another is to get rid of the game. And that's not an option, obviously.
It was ridiculous to move kickoffs to the 35 in the first place. To the 40? Come on.
Hopefully the NFL owners do not make this change.
It would be a disgrace to basically eliminate this part of the game.