NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell mentioned during an interview with Rich Eisen on Thursday that the league will explore potential alternatives to traditional kickoffs during the player safety summit with players and coaches next week.
“We see that there’s a higher incident [rate] of injuries on that play,” Goodell said, via NFL.com. “So we try to look at this and [say] what is it we can do to make it a safer play but also improve the excitement of it. And there’s actually been some creative thinking that we’re going to discuss again next week. Several different concepts from special teams coaches, other coaches — we even have one from a well-known college coach — concepts that are alternatives, but really exciting plays.”
Unfortunately, Goodell didn’t offer any specifics about some of the alternatives that have been proposed.
Goodell did, however, stress the importance of player safety.
As for the new rules that penalize players for lowering their helmets on hits, Goodell explained that they want to ensure players and officials are prepared to properly implement the rules.
“We have a meeting next week, [and] there will be a great deal of discussion,” Goodell said. “We’re going to have several coaches and others coming in to talk about how we’re going to coach it, how we’re going to teach it so that we’re talking the same language and make sure we’re doing this consistently. And, of course, our officials, obviously, to be able to officiate it consistently.”
Regarding the changes to the catch rule, Goodell said he believes they got it right this time around.
“I think we went back and looked at the basics: What do we want to be a catch in the league? And we really reformatted the rule from the beginning to make sure that we made those catches by rule,” Goodell said. “So, I do believe we will get to the right place this year.“