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If You Could Eliminate One Position In Football, What Would It Be?

(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Let’s be honest, there are a few positions in football that can be eliminated and the game would be better off for it, or maybe not. Think of back yard football with a dozen or so people playing football and compromises had to be made to get the game going.

Perhaps axing a position, or two could make the NFL or college football a better and more interesting product. The fullback is still technically around in football but that position has been going away for years and is nearly gone. In its place is someone on the field that is more valuable like an extra wide receiver or two running backs for more playmakers on the field.

Say Goodbye To The Kicking Game?

The extremely obvious answer is to just get rid of the punting and kicking positions, or at least a portion of special. Rules in the NFL have drastically reduced what happens on a kickoff and punt with a lot of it is for player safety. Player safety is extremely important but these rule tweaks also have gutted what can happen on special teams.

For years the spot of the kick off has slowly moved forward to allow for more touchbacks and fewer returns; this rule change has nearly eliminated the kick return which can be one of the most exciting plays in the game. This means there are a lot less exciting plays from the likes of Devin Hester, Deion Sanders high-stepping down the sideline, or Gale Sayers returning kicks.

The NFL also tweaked the rules for an onside kick which have basically eliminated this play to be successful by no longer allowing a running start or overloading players to one side of the ball.

Without a kicking game, it could make football more exciting because it would force teams to be more strategic and make things exciting on a 4th-and-long play when trying to convert for a new set of downs.

This also would eliminate field goals as well and drastically change the end of game scenarios where instead of a kick to win or tie the game, a hail mary would be needed to score points for a win.

If you could eliminate one position in football what would it be?

Posted by KSL's Unrivaled on Saturday, June 8, 2019

No more kicking game is where KSL Sports’ Scott Mitchell stands.

“They are already trying to phase out the kicking game as it is. The onside kick doesn’t work anymore, so kickoffs are out,” Mitchell said on KSL’s Unrivaled. “You don’t have all of the repercussions of injuries and concussions.”

Injuries have been a concern in the kicking game with players basically being missiles running down the field. No more running starts and also the elimination of the wedge blocking has made kick and punt returns safer for players.

Co-host Alex Kirry sharply disagrees with scrapping the kicking or punting aspects of football because of those end of game situations that would turn from somewhat routine to nearly impossible with a deep pass as the only option to put points on the board.

“You can’t just dismiss the kicker altogether. If you are on the 42-yard line, throwing a hail mary is basically like doing an onside kick, it does not get converted that often,” Kirry said. “With time experiencing and kicking a 54- or 57-yarder to win the game or put you through the next round of the playoffs, I want kickers to live in that space.”

There would be a new strategy for football without a kicking game because it would mean that both sides of the ball would need to be even more productive and not rely on field goals or field position with a punter booting the ball.

“No field goals, no nothing,” Mitchell added. “It would be competitive and work both directions. That means that your offense and your defense both have to be productive. It makes teams much more aggressive on their play calling to move the ball down the field and open up the game even more.”

No More Running Back?

With the move to more of a passing game in the college for years now with the advent of the spread attack, and the NFL slowly becoming more of a pass-happy league, maybe it is time to remove the running back from the equation?

“Running back. It is becoming less and less relevant in the NFL because you know have quarterbacks that can run now,’ Mitchell said. “Just look at how they pay positions now, it’s quarterback then defensive end. If it came back around we’d be running the Wing-T but you don’t see the Wing-T being run in the NFL.”

Getting rid of the running back clearly would be extreme since the ground game is still very valuable in both college and NFL.

The fullback is nearly extinct but don’t expect teams to follow the old Houston Oilers run-and-shoot offense from the 1980s and early 90s that was all passing and rarely featured the running back.

If there were to be any position eliminated from football it would be kickers or punters well before any skill positions are phased out of the game.

Tune into KSL’s Unrivaled every Monday through Friday, 7-9 p.m., or download the KSL NewsRadio app to subscribe to the podcast.