Talking Points: Demise of kickoffs in NFL?

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What's the buzz from the world of sports? Here are some items that will have people talking:

1

The NFL threw up a test balloon Thursday, just trying to figure out if anybody thought it would be a good idea to significantly alter the way the game is played.

Surely you heard the plan: Do away with kickoffs. If a team scores, instead of kicking off, that team would get the ball at its own 30-yard line in a fourth-and-15 situation. Punt or go for it.

Most teams would punt, but the go-for-it option would be there for teams that are trailing late in the game. It would take the place of onside kicks.

As expected, this idea went over like flatulence in an elevator.

We understand the NFL is trying to make the game safer. But we would miss kickoffs.

We also believe it is a lot easier to convert fourth-and-15 than to recover an onside kick that the receiving team is expecting. According to AdvancedNFLStats.com, as of a couple years ago, teams recovered an onside kick about 26 percent of the time — but the percentage dropped when the kick was expected.

Also, any team facing the Chargers would never give up the ball. Fourth-and-15? That's easy. The Chargers give up fourth-and-29 on dump-off passes.

2

By the time you read this, Josh Hamilton might be a Mariner. Or he might not. Or we might not know for a few days.

All we do know is that Hamilton would not even consider going to Seattle if the fences were not being brought in at Safeco Field. (Well, of course we don't really know that. Hitters will go anywhere if the price is right.)

Still, while pitchers might be upset over the fences coming in, this is exactly what the Mariners were hoping to achieve: They are in the hunt for a big bat — a big bat that could take advantage of new dimensions.

It's already a good move, even if the Mariners don't land Hamilton. At least they made it to the meeting.

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