Punting "Mainly Blows"

...that is, according to a recent in-depth analysis.

"I've found that, throughout the course of a football game, having the ball is really important and good," said Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, widely regarded as the league's greatest football mind. "Given that the idea behind punting is to willingly and knowingly give the ball away, one would not expect it to be a very popular thing to do. Understood?"
The funny thing is, this Onion article perfectly captures the state of punting in the NFL. Offenses have become good enough to tip the balance further and further toward going for it. Having the ball is good. Not having it is bad. It even discusses the fact that the kickoff following a score has to be factored into the equation.
"You have to give the ball away after you score by kicking it off, and no one likes that, but that's different from punting," Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said. "For one thing, you're in a good mood because you just scored. And you can't score more than one touchdown each time you have the ball—that's the rule. So you have to kick the ball away, but it's sort of okay, since you can't really do anything else."
Helmet-knock to Eddy Elfenbein for the link.

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8 Responses to “Punting "Mainly Blows"”

  1. Keith Goldner says:

    This isn't accurate. The Raiders love using Shane Lechler!

  2. Michael Beuoy says:

    Also, Onion-Mike Tomlin is wrong too. You can onside kick!

  3. Anonymous says:

    "Wouldn't it be awesome to score on a kickoff, though?" Tomlin added. "You can, you know, but it's very hard."


  4. Sam's Hideout says:

    What if on the kick off, instead of kicking as deep as possible, the kicker tries to kick it high to around the 30 yard line--could the kicking team get a few people into the area for a possible "onside" catch?

  5. Tom says:

    Regarding kick-off play and Sam Hideout's idea I would like to point to professional Rugby union, which has for a long time been doing basically exactly what he suggests: kicking it deep enough to not give the opposition great field position, but kicking the ball in such a way that it spends a long time in the air. I genuinely believe this approach would revolutionise the NFL.

  6. Mike Tomlin says:

    Sam - That would be awesome and it would make me hate my kicker somewhat less. But I think that the receiving team can call for a fair catch on a kickoff. And that would be bad.

  7. Alex says:

    The onion article should end like this:

    When asked if they shared Coughlin's opinions, NFL head coaches said, "Yes," then immediately put their skirts back on, marched out on the field and punted 99% of the time on 4th and 1.

  8. JMM says:

    "Wouldn't it be awesome to score on a kickoff, though?" Tomlin added. "You can, you know, but it's very hard."

    Didn't Hines Ward score on a kickoff in a Pro Bowl several years ago? I think he picked it out of the air as it crossed the 10 yard point and no one stopped him. (Not that the total lack of effort on the part of the receiving team had much to do with it.) It does go to show it is a non-zero possibility outcome.

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