There were 2,757 kickoffs in the NFL in 2020, and 1,687 of them (61.2%) wound up as touchbacks. Among the kickoffs that were returned, a grand total of seven were returned for touchdowns.

That’s cool and all, but it would be far more interesting if, after scoring, a team could choose where to put the ball, and have its opponent decide whether to get its offense on the field or let the team that just put points on the board retain possession. Again, it’s an additional strategic wrinkle.


What about onside kicks? They’re already out of the Pro Bowl, where teams have the option to try to gain 15 yards on one play from their own 25 instead. But imagine a team being down by one point late after scoring late in a game, and then saying, “We’ll put the ball at the offense’s 4-yard line.” That, historically, has its own danger.

What do you do as the leading team: take the ball and try to avoid a game-losing safety, or let your opponent retain possession and dare them to go 50-plus yards to get into field goal range?


The Ravens’ proposal has a chance to change football forever. It deserves to be more than just an overtime gimmick.