NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has a favored replacement in mind, one he’s been talking about since at least 2012. In a shocking twist, his idea is brilliant. Rather than kicking the ball off a tee, the scoring team would get the ball on its own 30-yard line in a 4th-and-15 scenario. They could elect to punt, or they would have the option to go for it and keep possession with a successful conversion. Exciting!
Goodell credits former Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach (and current Ohio State defensive coordinator) Greg Schiano for the idea, and I don’t know what’s more surprising: that the team owners’ handsomely paid ventriloquist dummy is open to radically changing the very fabric of the sport or that he got this exciting innovation from a man who believed the key to winning in the NFL was to fill his team with former Rutgers players. Either way, the 4th-and-15 idea is awesome, and it needs to be implemented immediately.
One of the biggest problems with the NFL is that the games are choppy. As the Ringer’s Rodger Sherman points out, kickoffs take longer to set up than any other play. A not insignificant chunk of NFL Sundays consist of the beer commercial–kickoff–truck commercial triptych of despair. A 4th-and-15 play would be a fluid continuation of the scoring drive, and its effect would be downright liberating for fans watching at home.