Archive

Archive for June, 2011

Rutgers Coach Proposes Alternative to Kickoff


Rutgers Head Coach Greg Schiano

After watching Junior Defensive End Eric Legrand lay helplessly on the field after a head collision last October, Head Coach Greg Schiano begin thinking of a way to make the game of football safer that help prevent an injury from happening in the future for all levels. It is no secret that Kickoffs are one, if not, the most dangerous part of the game of football. For this reason the NFL recently moved the Kickoff to the 35 yard line to lessen the chance of injury. Coach Schiano proposed a Kickoff Alternative that would be safer for all players while not drastically changing the game.

Schiano Plan:

“Replace all kickoffs with a punting situation, including after the opening coin toss and to start the second half. So, as an example, when Team A scores a touchdown, it immediately gets the ball back on a fourth and 15 from its own 30-yard line. It can punt it back to Team B — the most likely outcome and a safer play since the bigger collisions usually happen on kickoffs. Or it can line up and go for the first down, essentially replacing an onside kick with an offensive play that would require more skill than luck.”

I personally think this has potential to considered at the Collegiate and Professional level. It keeps returns in the game and also provides an opportunity for a team to retain possession. Punting from the 30 would result in a similar outcome as an average kickoff. In the 2010 season the smallest average for a starting punter in the National Football League was 40.1 yards. With the average punt return near ten yards players would fall short of the 40 yard line. This is a double edge issue as teams with elite punt returners such as the Chicago Bears, New England Patriots, or San Francisco 49ers, will have a strong advantage and could potentially start a majority of their drives on their opponents side of the field. Another issue would be the 4th and 15 option instead of punting. While one would think being on their own 30 would be enough of a risk to influence coaches to punt, many teams have players who average 15 yards. In 2010 21 WR/TE averaged 15.0 yards  per catch or more, with several more averaging 14.0 yards per catch or more. Not saying that coaches would choose to go for it after every score, but it would be well in their grasp. I believe making the 4th and 15 a 4th and 20 would be a slighty more difficult and would reflect the difficulty of an onside kick  more accurately.

Schiano was also questioned whether the receiving team would be allowed to attempt a block of the initial punt. When asked Schiano said “I don’t think that’s what you’re looking to do with this. Maybe that’s not an option – maybe you can’t block the punt because that’s not what you’re looking to accomplish here. Maybe it’s one of those deals like in an All-Star Game where you can’t block the punt, that it would have to be all return game.” One scenario I thought about when I read the details of this rule is the possibility of a team dominating the time of possession. Think of all the shoot out games where teams trade punches for the entire game. The entire game is filled with big plays and at the end it is the team who has the ball last that wins. In a game where there is little defense a team could potentially score, be successful on a 4th and 15, and repeat. The opposing team could have a hand full of possessions the entire game. Yes it is a long shot, but in certain games where it is all offense for both teams it could happen.

I personally love Kickoffs. I don’t believe the hype before a Kickoff would be the same if it was a Punt. That being said you cannot put a price on how safe the game could be and with the recent emphasis on players safety in the NFL I believe this idea is at the very least worth considering.

What do you think?

Advertisements

Viewing Parties Potential as the Next Best Thing


Through out the NBA Playoffs we’ve seen the Miami Heat and recently the Dallas Mavericks host Watching Parties when their team was on the road. These parties are free, with the exception of parking, and give the fans a home game feeling as hundreds of fans usually show up to support their team as they watch on the big screen.

Miami Heat fans gather outside American Airlines Arena to watch Game 5 of the Heat vs Bulls series

Seeing the reaction of the Dallas fans at their home arena during Game 2 of the NBA Finals as well as how many fans there were I begin to think, what if this became a every game thing in the NBA Finals and maybe during the regular season for highly anticipated games? Also what if teams sold tickets to these viewing parties?

Dallas fans watch their Mavericks play the Oklahoma City Thunder in the American Airline Center.

Teams could make revenue on both home and away games during the post-season. Fans always gather together to watch big games. Friends get together, either at home or at bars and restaurants, order food, and cheer on their team. Fans would be able to gather in bigger groups and watch games at their home arena with hundreds of other fans. It’s no secret that games are more entertaining to watch when you are surrounded by people who support the same team.

Tickets for Viewing Parties would be sold at the beginning of each series.  Initially tickets would be general admission, but could potentially lead to normal game seating based on demand. To encourage more fans to purchase these tickets, each ticket could include some sort of concession discount or coupon. Fans gather together to watch games as is, certainly given the opportunity to watch their game not only together, but in their home arena fans would come in packs. In-Game Promotions could be used for giveaways and contests just as they would be if the game was being played at that arena. You would want to create a near identical game experience. The revenue from these Viewing Parties would not  a franchise, but it would be revenue none the less and you can never have to much of that.

I believe this idea has the potential to take off, not only in Basketball, but Hockey as well. With a series Hockey fans could watch games in their home arena.  I know WHEN the Pistons make the finals again I’d love to go back to the Palace and watch a game on the big screen.

Tressels Resignation Warning to All NCAA Coaches

June 1, 2011 1 comment

As a Michigan alumni part of me could only be happy to see the Ohio State Buckeyes face such penalties.  After leaving Ann Arbor without a victory over Ohio State my dislike only grew. At the same time I could only feel slightly sorry for the Buckeyes considering what they will lose in the two to three years pending they lose some of their top players.

Over the years we’ve heard of several players being paid at several universities. Weather it be Chris Webber at the University of Michigan, O.J. Mayo at USC, or Joe McKnight at USC we’ve heard it a million times. Each time the NCAA issues a punishment and the regret the institution feels is temporary. So when Tressel finally resigned I begin to think, since I’m all but certain more universities are paying players, what are these players thinking at this time? As much as it hurts me to say it, Jim Tressel has been a very successful coach. One National Championship with several other visits to the big game in addition to a handful of Big Ten Championships. Tressel has helped Ohio State consistently be considered a National Contender. But even with this impressive resume he has fallen. So as a coach who has had ANY involvement in a student-athlete being paid any form compensation other than their scholarship how do you react? The NCAA will eventually find you out, they always do. These stories always reach the surface at one point in time whether it be while the player in question is playing or the player has moved on to a professional career. If I were in that situation I’d be shaking in my shoes at this point. Penalties will only get worse. I wouldnt be surprised if a program gets the “Death Penalty” in the future for similar penalties.