Imagine a world without Kickers

luckynewman13's picture
September 9, 2013 at 3:35 pm

Hello, 11 Dubbers! 
I am an up and coming science fiction writer ("up and coming"= nobody's has ever heard of me) and I would like your opinions. The current project I'm working on is some near-future speculative fiction (Don't worry, the point is coming). I wanted to start my story with a little world building by showing my protagonist, Tyrex, master hacker with a heart of gold (shut up, the name is perfect), watching future football.
This is where I got stuck. What does football look like in the horrible cyber-apocalyptic hellscape that is United States in 2045? After mulling over some silly ideas (Anti-gravity shoes, "Golden Footballs" that enter the game with 2:00 minutes left that double the score both touchdowns and field goals), I finally settled on something pretty boring: get rid of the kickers...sort of.
I want it to be understood, this hurts to write. Mike Nugent and Andy Groom are two of my favorite players of all time, so how could I possibly suggest this? I mean, Cam Johnston is friggin' awesome, right?

Please don't hurt me
But let's look at this from a different angle: should a guy that has been playing Australian Rules Football all of his life be able to walk off a plane and start on day 1 for a major college football program like Ohio State? That's kind of weird, right?
Think of all the bulk and SPEEEEEEEEEEEED associated with the SEC. Then look at South Carolina's kicker:

Seems like a safety concern.
But what to do? How can punting and kicking be so anachronistic and so essential at the same time? "Those kickers sure don't look like football players, but football without kicking isn't football at all!" Perhaps, I have a solution: Force kickers and punters to become football players. How do we do it?
FIELD GOALS ARE OUT: This is obviously the biggest change. I know purists will probably stop reading right now but I actually agree with Skip Bayless (blecht) on this one. Field goals are just way to much of a wild card in my opinion. Good teams losing because they have bad kickers and vice versa does not make the game more enjoyable for me. I respect that many other people like field goals precisely because of this aspect of the game, but I would personally rather the outcomes be determined by players who see the field for more than a few snaps.
TOUCHDOWNS ARE NOW WORTH 7 POINTS: After the Touchdown, you can choose to go for the 8th point (two-point conversion style). If the conversion fails, you lose a point, making the Touchdown worth 6.
*If we do get rid of kickers, should the ability to score 3 points be replaced somehow? Perhaps we can make touchdowns of 40+ yards worth 9 or 10 points? Would that be too Arena Football?
KICKOFFS AND PUNTS STILL EXIST: Why? That means teams are still going to employ nonathletic kicking specialists, right? Well, here's the twist: If a team elects to punt the ball down field, the player who used his foot to advance the football MUST participate in his team's next offensive OR defensive snap. Example: Got a good punter on your team? He better be good enough to play Defensive Back for the next play. Did the receiving team muff the ball and the punting team recovered? The punter can elect to play the RB (or whatever) on the next snap, or he can elect to wait until his team is on defense again. Their are some pitfalls with this, like the possibility of punters constantly feigning injury to stay off the field.
Kickoffs work much the same way, although I'm open to suggestions on how exactly they would work (from where do teams kick off? Do we change permanently to the punt-off? Could a team choose between the two?).
It's a good bet I won't finish this particular scifi project, seeing as how I'm far more interested in writing about football, but what do you think? Would you be more or less interested if football were played this way? About the same? Perhaps you want to get rid of kickers too but in a completely different way?
I'd love to hear your thoughts. 

View 24 Comments