NFL VP says league will ‘absolutely not’ eliminate kickoffs

By David Kenyon
January 20, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent speaks during the Pro Bowl Kickoff Press Conference at The Arizona Biltmore. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL is working on changes to make kickoffs a safer play, but Executive Vice President of Football Operations and former player Troy Vincent doesn’t see them being removed entirely.

According to Kevin Seifert of ESPN, discussions that happened in the spring about eliminating kickoffs “spurred a series of suggestions for safer alternatives.” The changes will likely be adopted in the coming month, per the report.

Vincent is participating in the two-day NFL safety summit, which began Tuesday and includes coaches, former players, medical personnel and representatives for officials.

For traditionalists — such as Vincent, an All-Pro safety who played 15 years in the league — this is likely a welcomed change after a “scare” in March. At that time, Vincent acknowledged the NFL was having conversations about whether eliminating kickoffs would be the best choice.

The statistical truth is injuries happen at a higher rate on kickoffs, which produce hard hits because one team is sprinting and the other is largely stationary. However, while the league is wise to consider safety-minded changes, kickoffs are here to stay.