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Do the fans really care about player safety?

Some say we are nearing the tipping point where fans may turn the channel on a softer less violent NFL game. Jack Bechta

Print This December 19, 2012, 06:30 PM EST

Would UFC fans continue to watch if they put headgear and bigger gloves on the fighters? Probably not! Would NASCAR, IndyCar or Formula One fans keep watching if all the cars had governors set at 120 miles per hour. Don’t think so!

So to what level do we go for the sake of player safety where the fans are still interested in the game? We already know what happened to the Pro Bowl because of the lack of hitting, competition, and everyone playing it safe. The game died! It became a joke. If we keep softening the game does it start to look like the Pro Bowl? I hope not.

What can be done to keep our game the same while improving safety? I don’t have the answers but I would love to hear from our readers.

I do have one idea that I believe the league should look at. Eliminating the kick off at halftime and give the ball to the designated team on the 20 or twenty-five. Everyone usually misses it anyway. In addition, move the coverage (kick off) team up 7 yards so there is only a three-yard buffer between them and the receiving team. Leave the kicker where he is. This way the receiving team has a better chance to engage a block and run with the coverage team thus slowing them down. Let's make the kick off more exciting, not less. These few tweaks can lessen concussions and injuries while making the play more exciting.

The other thing that needs to be done is to have more conversations with players themselves. Players have a strong voice about once every ten years prior to negotiating a new CBA. The rest of the time they are rarely asked what they feel is best for the game and their own safety. Get them involved in the conversation.

Follow me on Twitter: @Jackbechta

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