"Kickoffs are stupid and bad."
November 13, 2017 12:50 PM   Subscribe

In the newest installment of Chart Party, SB Nation writer and national treasure Jon Bois discusses why the kickoff sucks and should be abolished. (SLYT) posted by NoxAeternum (40 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
 
Bois says "momenta."

I see you Jon Bois, you nerd. We can hang out.
posted by The Gaffer at 12:58 PM on November 13 [3 favorites]


I wonder what this man would think of rugby.
posted by clawsoon at 1:07 PM on November 13 [1 favorite]


The fix he presents at the end is a pretty interesting idea. Anyone who's followed Jon's Breaking Madden work will probably get a chuckle out of who suggested it.
posted by codacorolla at 1:11 PM on November 13 [3 favorites]


"Would the NFL ever adopt this rule? It makes all the sense in the world, so... NO."

Yeah, that about sums up the NFL.
posted by jeffamaphone at 1:13 PM on November 13 [8 favorites]


The other problem with the kickoff is that it's bookended with commercial breaks. After a score, there's a 2 minute break, then a 15 second kickoff play, then another 2 minute break. It slows the game down while being predictably boring.
posted by peeedro at 1:13 PM on November 13 [1 favorite]


After a score, there's a 2 minute break, then a 15 second kickoff play, then another 2 minute break.

That was eliminated this year, as many people complained about the huge break in action (rightfully so). It's now one 2-minute commercial break per score, barring injury or other long stoppage.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 1:20 PM on November 13 [1 favorite]


The other problem with the kickoff is that it's bookended with commercial breaks. After a score, there's a 2 minute break, then a 15 second kickoff play, then another 2 minute break. It slows the game down while being predictably boring.

I have such a hard time watching NFL games (I mean aside from the ethical dilemma of supporting an industry that exacts physical and mental damage on these players, I'm not watching that much to be honest) for this very reason. These games have become so slow and are filled with all these interruptions and pauses and I know there have been some studies that look at the fact that we're now lucky if we get like 45 minutes of solid gameplay. Ugh.
posted by Fizz at 1:22 PM on November 13


The other problem with the kickoff is that it's bookended with commercial breaks. After a score, there's a 2 minute break, then a 15 second kickoff play, then another 2 minute break. It slows the game down while being predictably boring.

They stopped taking the break after the kickoff this season because it was the number one complaint of viewers. So at least that's a little better.
posted by schoolgirl report at 1:29 PM on November 13


Fizz: we're now lucky if we get like 45 minutes of solid gameplay. Ugh.

Doesn't the average NFL game only have 10-13 minutes of gameplay?
posted by clawsoon at 1:32 PM on November 13 [4 favorites]


I am 100% for that Schiano proposal, but make it 4th and 20. Even the armiest of the strong arms can't make that throw reliably.
posted by deezil at 1:33 PM on November 13 [1 favorite]


You're probably right clawsoon. I watch maybe 2 or 3 games a year now and its mostly Playoffs or Superbowl.

On the subject of kickoffs. They are indeed stupid but they also lead to all kinds of hilarity, fumbles, touches, etc. I do love the unpredictability of this part of the game.
posted by Fizz at 1:41 PM on November 13


Without kickoffs, I wouldn't have one of my strangest plays in any game.
I've been a proponent of Schiano's proposal for a while, although I'd move the ball back to the 20 for a 4th and 10. Higher risk, higher reward. However, considering the mess rules are, kickoffs would not be high on my priority list. At least not before fixing catches and QB fumbles.

These games have become so slow and are filled with all these interruptions and pauses and I know there have been some studies that look at the fact that we're now lucky if we get like 45 minutes of solid gameplay. Ugh.
I think telecast times on average are steady, the problem is that time that used to be for analysis and Madden accidentally drawing dicks are now filled with dicks selling pizza, making the games feel so much longer. I've watched games on our local broadcaster, and since they use the raw feed showing random replays and camera tests and do not cut off to commercials and take the time to read viewers mail, games feel a lot shorter.
posted by lmfsilva at 1:52 PM on November 13


Good video, good proposal. My guess is why the "furthest" segment of the kick returns have a lower average points scored is because many of those recoveries are from on side kick failures or squib kicks. Those tend to happen in situations when the receiving team can often just run out the clock to win and not even attempt to score.
posted by skynxnex at 1:59 PM on November 13 [4 favorites]


I've been a proponent of Schiano's proposal for a while, although I'd move the ball back to the 20 for a 4th and 10. Higher risk, higher reward.
The problem with this is that the opposing team would start with the ball on the 35 on average. I assume the reason he chose the 30 is that the other team would get the ball on the 25 on average.
posted by Lame_username at 2:15 PM on November 13


The fix he presents at the end is a pretty interesting idea. Anyone who's followed Jon's Breaking Madden work will probably get a chuckle out of who suggested it.

For all of the deserved criticism leveled at Schiano, watching a player he coached get maimed by the game he loved was probably a major wakeup call, and is most likely why his proposal is well thought out. It's designed to functionally operate like the kickoff, while removing the riskiest parts of it and making the play much more tactical (and thus interesting to fans.)
posted by NoxAeternum at 3:45 PM on November 13 [4 favorites]


Doesn't the average NFL game only have 10-13 minutes of gameplay?

Fine, I'll bite. This is the single most worthless point I ever hear w/r/t sports: The idea that the only time that counts in football is the time from when the ball is snapped until the ref blows the whistle. That ignores all of the pre-snap action such as the line-ups, shifts, motion, audibles, etc. The pre-snap action, especially at the professional level, often determines the success of plays. If you only watch the actual action, you've likely missed the strategy. (The inability of TV production to show all of the pre-snap action and line-ups, and instead substitute in their poorly made graphics packages is worthy of a discussion in its own right).

We don't do this with other turn-based sports. In baseball, there is less than 10 minutes of "action" per game, if you only count the time from when the ball leaves the pitcher's hand until the play is over. But any baseball fan would rightly call that out as a trash argument: the pitcher's pre-pitch routine, their motions, the signals, the movement of the baserunners, alignment of the infield and outfield etc. are all part of the game. It's no less important to the game than the live action itself.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 4:22 PM on November 13 [31 favorites]


One of the things that's furthering my conversion to EPL and soccer on the whole is the uninterrupted play. Sure, you don't get pee breaks, but I'm getting too old for commercials.

That and the most fun I've ever had at a bar watching a sporting event was EPL.
posted by Sphinx at 5:05 PM on November 13 [4 favorites]


The argument isn't that baseball has a ton of action, it's that football is touted as being the most exciting sport. Which it can be. For 11 minutes per 3 1/2-hour game. If baseball fans were trying to say the National Pastime was the most action-packed sport on the planet (like NFL fans do), then your "if baseball" comeback would make sense.

If that ratio doesn't bug you, and obviously it doesn't bug millions of people who watch football, then no worries.
posted by Celsius1414 at 5:07 PM on November 13 [1 favorite]


I can't remember who it was I heard describing football as a "chess match between the coaches," but as a former fan I wish the NFL would 1) play up that actually interesting, cerebral aspect more and 2) figure out how to make the game not give its players traumatic brain injuries.
posted by Celsius1414 at 5:10 PM on November 13 [2 favorites]


I've sometimes wondered if there's something about the American psyche which attracts it to games where there's lots of time before each moment of action to strategize, calculate, and noodle around, and lots of time after each moment of action to write down exactly what happened.

Cricket seems to fill this need for random parts of the former British Empire.
posted by clawsoon at 5:11 PM on November 13 [4 favorites]


Doesn't the average NFL game only have 10-13 minutes of gameplay?

Ah but now each game has half an hour of tense slow motion replay of extremely unpredictable epistemic crises where they try repeatedly to parse the meaning of the word "catch". Aristotelian essentialism crashes into Platonic ideals, blitzes Wittgensteinian family resemblance and rips the damn head of Popperian logical positivism.

In the end we are just left with Goodelian absurdism.
posted by srboisvert at 5:29 PM on November 13 [16 favorites]


I have only watched 2 games of football this year, mostly as a protest of Kap being blacklisted by the league. The two games I have watched, at a friend's house who was hosting me for the weekend, reminded me of what an AWFUL game football is with current NFL rules. It's boring, filled with ads, and decided frequently by completely arbitrary rulings.
posted by codacorolla at 5:36 PM on November 13


...huh, what? Oh sorry, I was just distracted by the butterfly keyboard thinkpad.
posted by ckape at 5:37 PM on November 13 [2 favorites]


I've sometimes wondered if there's something about the American psyche which attracts it to games where there's lots of time before each moment of action to strategize, calculate, and noodle around, and lots of time after each moment of action to write down exactly what happened.

Don’t forget the overly complicated set of rules that requires multiple officials on the field who must have their own huddles to determine whether the game is being played legally. Not to mention that these complications allow chances to find loopholes and to exploit the spirit of the written rules to gain an advantage (clock management, I’m looking at you...)
posted by hwyengr at 5:46 PM on November 13 [1 favorite]


I hate football these days but love Bois videos which are vastly more entertaining than actually watching a game.
posted by octothorpe at 6:08 PM on November 13 [6 favorites]


this is all important and yes i like the idea but i want that shiny receiver in his av center
posted by Caxton1476 at 6:26 PM on November 13


I am pretty clueless about football but I like that he related the kickoff to a train station!
posted by batter_my_heart at 7:42 PM on November 13


If I could watch football with Jon Bois, I would start watching football again.
posted by Joey Michaels at 8:07 PM on November 13


Jon Bois is about the only person who could get me to watch football again.

It's not happening though, I just watch Chart Party instead.
posted by nat at 9:52 PM on November 13


I liked that the probes from 17776 were hanging out on the credenza. Good place, lots of view.

At least one of the bowl games last year had an all-22 view (showing all players on the field all the time) with a couple of coaches commenting on each play. It was brilliant, because they broke down what each team was doing, why they were doing it, and they didn't miss half the field because the camera was focused on the "important" players.

I'd probably watch more football if it was all like that. Since it's not, I'll stick to hockey and soccer.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 10:49 PM on November 13 [4 favorites]


I had never seen this guy before, never knew he existed, but, I gotta say, I can't think of any field of human endeavor that wouldn't need, and wouldn't deserve, this level and quality of perspicacity and clarity of critical analysis.
posted by Chitownfats at 11:09 PM on November 13 [6 favorites]


I had never seen this guy before, never knew he existed, but, I gotta say, I can't think of any field of human endeavor that wouldn't need, and wouldn't deserve, this level and quality of perspicacity and clarity of critical analysis.

Seconded, albeit with the caveat I have read his writing, but it lacks something presented quite wonderfully by the graphics.
posted by Samizdata at 11:14 PM on November 13


Oh, if anyone wants anything new, the worthless institution that is TNF will be doing something different this week. The primary broadcast camera will be the SkyCam (aka the Madden Cam) because a few weeks ago they had to use because of fog and people liked it.
posted by lmfsilva at 2:54 AM on November 14 [1 favorite]


Disagree with him this time - onside kicks are awesome.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:07 AM on November 14


In baseball, there is less than 10 minutes of "action" per game, if you only count the time from when the ball leaves the pitcher's hand until the play is over.

Baseball is for the people that love that uncomfortable suspense, the showdown scene in the western film that just cuts back and forth between the cowboys' expressionless faces. What's going to happen? Could be anything. Strikeout? Home run? Maybe nothing. Spit. Stare. The shift? That could prove to be a disaster... Oh fuck, oh fuck... Wait, a visit to the mound. That pitcher? Oh now this changes everything. Stare, spit, oh fuck oh fuck. Once the ball leaves the pitcher's hand, it's all been decided and you're just fast-forwarding through in case someone makes an error. Then back to the good part. Now it's THREE balls and two strikes. That changes everything.
posted by ctmf at 7:40 PM on November 14 [3 favorites]


It would be pretty hilarious if a team did get good enough at on-side kicks to use it regularly and dominate the league until everyone figured out an effective counter-strategy.
posted by ctmf at 7:43 PM on November 14


Football will likely go through reform in the coming years because of injuries; their slowness to change is to not upset any fans along the way. This is a good starting point. Alternatively, someone could come up with a different game on the same field and offer it as a suggestion box. Here is one: Play the field sideways, wider than long, for only 50 yards at a time, similar to college overtime rules. This will move the game laterally for less injuries due to opposing forces. Dump the clock. Dump the chains. Make it a ten down limit for a touchdown. Offer a field goal on the hopeless tenth down. No need for the extra point. Dump the punt. If the team is too far from a field goal on the last down, let them kick it in reverse for a token single point, to mix up the score and keep it centered. Maybe then dump the yard lines. Alternatively, far lanes could be made with the extra room for a dead zone, where touching is considered downed, rather than crash them into the knees of the coaches. The purists can groan, but stacking players against each other in a narrow configuration for all those boring pile-ons, after a one-yard gain, is accidental to history.
posted by Brian B. at 6:52 AM on November 15


Football will likely go through reform in the coming years because of injuries.

It feels like this season there have been more excess-athleticism injuries than normal. Players without any or much contact with opponents are ripping themselves apart on the field. It is as if the physical muscle power they can generate is exceeding the structural capacity of the bio-engineering. It's like everyone is becoming Bo Jackson and they can all, with just one bad foot plant, shear muscle right off their bones or even worse torque a break in their major leg bones. Theisman level horror highlights have abounded lately.

This is separate from the concussion issue - which can maybe can be corrected by extensive rule changes. What do you do to prevent injuries because of excess athleticism?
posted by srboisvert at 9:56 AM on November 15


Back when me and my friends would get together and play Madden, we played by what became known as "Cyrano House Rules." Other than the kickoff, no kicking at all. Fourth and 23? You have to go for it. Score a touchdown? You have to go for two. Made for some pretty epic games.
posted by Cyrano at 10:04 AM on November 15


What do you do to prevent injuries because of excess athleticism?
At a point, I don't know how much of that is "excess athleticism" or "playing and training so high on toradol they ignore every sign of something being wrong until it's too late". It's the fire alarm on the organism, and if they take the batteries from it because they are going through marlboros like in the 60s, when they fall asleep and the couch catches fire, yeah, it's all going to burn.

Part of the problem with the abundant leg-snapping over the past few years are players going low on their impact tackles because if they go high, it's far more likely they'll make contact with the helmet and risk a 15 yd penalty. And after all that (the brutal, knee-height high impact tackles and the muscular injuries), there's the outliers like Zach Miller's injury a few weeks ago. That kind of thing might happen on any contact sports and is just unfortunate and a touchdown, you bunch of pricks..
posted by lmfsilva at 10:31 AM on November 15 [1 favorite]


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