Outside the greater New England area, football fans tend to think of Patriots coach Bill Belichick as a guy who spends all his free time polishing his hooves and horns, eating live rabbits and plotting evil.
But love him or fear him, he's a smart dude who I'm certain loves rabbits (but probably not for lunch).
Lately the NFL's kicking game has been the object of Belichick's interest and he's shared some provocative views on special teams.
First, he claimed that the NFL wanted to completely get rid of kickoffs.
Most recently, he opined that extra points are worthless and the game would be better off if PATs weren't even part of it.
Kickoffs have been moved from the 30 to the 35-yard line this season, and thanks to the bionic legs of most sidewinders, touchbacks will be the norm. During a media session in mid-August Belichick said he was actually told by the NFL that the plan was to eventually eliminate the play completely.
League officials quickly responded by saying Belichick's info was inaccurate; the rule change was merely designed to shorten the field.
The kickoff -- when the returner gets his hands on the ball -- can be one of the most exciting plays in the game. I'm not sure I even want to live in a world where there's no chance at a "Music City Miracle."
Constantly booming the ball to the back of the end zone will negatively impact the play, at least from the standpoint of drama. Can't wait to see the ratio of returns vs. touchbacks at the end of the year.
As for the extra point thing, I'm with Belichick all the way.
It is mostly automatic and it's always boring. He said if the NFL insists on keeping it, it should at least move the line of scrimmage back to the 15 or 20 yard line and make the extra point try more like a field goal attempt.
What would be even better is reviving the "Action Point."
Although less and less people even remember the World Football League of 1974, it was years ahead of its time when it came to the kicking game.
It was the first league to move kickoffs back to the 30-yard line, and its Action Point replaced the PAT.
Instead of a kick, a team had to run or pass the ball from the two and half yard line to score a single point.
Also, touchdowns were worth seven points. (The idea there was that one TD should be worth more than two field goals).
I hope Belichick is wrong about kickoffs. I'm all for safety, but banning this play just seems like a really bad idea.
Of course if they ever replace the PAT with a running or passing play, I'd be the biggest proponent of that rule change.
Regardless of what happens, I'm just glad we've reached a point where we can once again cuss and discuss the game of football -- instead of cuss the gamesmanship involved in labor negotiations.