Sign Of Things To Come? Pro Bowl Eliminating Kickoffs

The NFL is taking the foot out of football, at least partially. Earlier this week, the league announced plans to implement a “Spot and Choose” method for Sunday’s Pro Bowl. Rather than kick off, the team who wins the coin toss will have the option to “spot” the ball somewhere on the field or “choose” whether they will start the game on offense or defense.

This is the latest example of the league’s yearly attempt to make the game safer. One would assume that a flag football version of the Pro Bowl isn’t far behind.

Per the league’s official announcement, “Spot and Choose” – sounds so trendy, doesn’t it? – being used for this year’s Pro Bowl was proposed to the competition committee by the Baltimore Ravens.

Everything should look normal until the winner of the coin toss has been determined. Once the lucky team finds out that tails never fails, things get interesting:

The winner of the toss must choose between one of the two privileges, and the loser of the toss is given the other. The two privileges are:

  1. “Spot” – place the ball on the field for the first play of the first quarter, including the designation of direction OR
  2. “Choose” – decide whether to start on offense or defense from the other team’s designated spot and direction
  3. To start the second half, the loser of the start-of-game coin toss has the option to choose one of the two privileges, with the other team given the other.

Obviously, this isn’t your daddy’s Pro Bowl. Hell, who even knew the Pro Bowl was on this weekend? I had plans to get my first Sunday afternoon nap in since late-August.

No one should be surprised by this clunky new kickoff experiment. The NFL has been seeking ways to eliminate kickoffs for years since their statistics show that it’s the most dangerous play in the sport. This is a step in that direction.

Fortunately for those viewing at home – yes, some of you will still watch because, after all, it is still football – there have been no rule changes made to the punting game. So there’s still a chance we could again see a Pro Bowl defensive back treat a punter like, well, a punter…

No matter how this idea goes on Sunday, don’t expect any permanent changes. The NFL is likely doing this just for kicks.


Follow along on Twitter: @OhioAF

Written by Anthony Farris

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  1. I always liked the idea of giving teams the option of an ‘automatic touchback’ or running a 4th and 15 play from the 35 yard line if you’re hellbent on getting rid of the kickoff.

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