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NFL’s proposed kickoff rule could hurt David Buehler

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The touchback is incredibly undervalued.  How much so?  Well, Advanced NFL Stats determined Billy Cundiff’s 40 touchbacks in 2010 were “worth” about two points per game–the same as 20 sacks.  This is one of the reasons I have been a firm supporter of David Buehler remaining on the roster whether he can kick field goals or not.  His powerful leg and ability to play special teams justify a roster spot.

The NFL’s Competition Committee has proposed a rule that would move up the kickoff spot from the 30 to the 35-yard line, while also allowing teams that receive a touchback to start at their own 25-yard line.  The rule is designed to discourage teams from returning kickoffs in an effort to prevent injuries.

In my opinion, this rule change would be sh*t.  While the switches may seem minor, the amount of touchbacks would skyrocket.  While Buehler’s touchback rate would soar to probably near 100 percent, the overall value to the Cowboys would decrease because other kickers would manage plenty of touchbacks as well.  Remember, football is a zero-sum game, so what’s good for the opposition is necessarily bad for the Cowboys.  The ultimate value of Buehler’s touchbacks doesn’t only come in their abundance, but rather the disparity between him and the league average.  30 touchbacks vs. 10 against is more valuable than 40 touchbacks vs. 30 against.

Actually, Buehler should be leading rallies against this proposed rule change.  If it goes into effect, there’s a good chance he could lose his job.  If a more accurate kicker can now kick touchbacks, why retain Buehler?  For his sake, and the sake of the entire Cowboys team, let’s hope this rule gets shot down.

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9 Responses to NFL’s proposed kickoff rule could hurt David Buehler

  1. Vince_Grey says:

    I completely understand the desire to prevent head injuries, but implementing moronic ideas like this will make into some other game that’s, well, something… but NOT football.

    JB, you’re absolutely right. Touchbacks will skyrocket, though I suppose it’s possible some serious power legged guys might try to kick it super high and pin the other team inside the 10, especially if they also have the benefit of a decent wind, or maybe go for a long onside kick. I guess if that happens too much we’ll have to do away with onside kicks as well.

    If you’re going to do this, you might as well just do away with kickoffs altogether and start every drive from the 25.

    I tell you, it really, really scares me when supposedly football intelligent people come up with dumb-ass ideas like this.

    Just do away with hard helmets. That will end all the “using the helmet as a weapon” stuff almost instantly.

  2. Vince–You bring up a point I didn’t even think of…onside kicks. You already know I’m a supporter of surprise onside kicks, and this is just more of a reason to perform them.

  3. Vince_Grey says:

    Yeah, your a gamblin’ fool… lol… but as my `ol granpappy use’d to say, “Everybody loves a gamble `till they lose.”

    I believe the net gain of those onside kicks would diminish fast and quickly become net losses. For one thing, if Dallas, or any number of teams, decided to start onside kicking with any regularity, not only would the surprise factor be lost, but opposing teams would begin to devout a lot more practice time against the kicks, and that would be that for successful onside kicking.

    BTW, as you saying you support this possible rule change?

  4. Not at all! I think the rule change is HORRIBLE and would drastically alter the game. It would also hurt the Cowboys.

  5. Vince_Grey says:

    Well, it’s offical. They moved the kickoff back to 35. They say they’re expecting a 10% increase in touchbacks, but I think that figure is low. I think it’ll be more like a 25% increase.

    Let me rephrase: I think they’ll be a 25% increase in kickoffs not returned past the 20, because some teams are going to kick high and try to pin the other team inside the 20.

    Bad, bad, rule change.

  6. Yeah..I think it will be greater than 10 percent as well. I hate this change. What are your thoughts on Buehler’s future in Dallas now?

  7. Vince_Grey says:

    I think it mainly still all depends on his ability to hit FG’s consistently. When he became the regular kicker, his TB percentage went down quite a bit, probably due to a tired leg, but this extra 5 yards might be enough so that he can cause a TB on almost every kick that’s not into a wind. But, if he can’t make his kicks, then it’s all a moot point.

    I know this, I am definitely NOT in favor of carrying two kickers, period. That’s a roster spot better used elsewhere IMO.

    The real question is, what does Garrett think about Buehler and all of this?

  8. Vince_Grey says:

    I still don’t know why Jerry won’t just write a big check and get Steve Hoffman back. That would quickly and effectively solve the kicker problem.

  9. VG–We disagree here, as I think the Cowboys SHOULD carry two kickers if one isn’t proficient in both touchbacks AND FG accuracy. Both are extremely valuable, and if the Cowboys can’t find a kicker who can kick a TB almost every time now, I don’t think using a spot on Buehler as a kickoff specialist/special teams guy is a wasted spot. Less than ideal–yes.

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