Two nights ago, Ryan Nanni, aka @celebrityhottub, had an idea:
New CFB rule proposal I just thought of so bear with me: every time you punt, your team loses one point.— Ryan Nanni (@celebrityhottub) July 18, 2018
His points all come back to one thing, it makes games more interesting without throwing the game out of balance, in aggregate. The Hawkeyes lose five points from their differential last season and it only flips the Iowa State game, assuming all else equal. (i.e.: I suspect Nate Stanley would not have pooch punted on the three occasions he did under Nanni’s rules)
David Cutcliffe, however, had an even better point at ACC Media Day:
Cutcliffe: "People forget the punt is actually an offensive play. You average more on a punt than any other play."— Joe L. Hughes II (@JoeLHughesII) July 18, 2018
With his quote in mind, here is why a punt should actually be one (1) point for the punting team. I would, however, combine the rules as such:
- The punting team only receives the point if the punt is not blocked or a touchback, in which case
- A touchback rewards the receiving team with a point instead.
- Yes, “rewarding” the receiving team on a touchback is the same, mathematically, as docking the punting team a point but, lets be honest, negative numbers are dumb in sports.
- If the punt is blocked, a failed fake, or does not reach the LOS neither team is rewarded a point.
Without further ado...
Punting is winning.
By providing the offensive team a point for a punt, it furthers this axiom of football. Nay, life. Football used to be a game of field position, Points for Punts returns the game to its roots.
The game is balanced for the underdog
As Nanni said, teams like Alabama and OSU forced 39 more punts than ones they had themselves. Why not give this 39 points back to their opponents to keep the game close? Receiving the ball is success enough for a defense. If some enterprising head coach wants to, they can just punt it back to even it up.
It won’t become a puntfest
This is sheer postulation, but I have a hard time believing both teams would engage in punting back and forth for an entire game. Football will remain functionally the same because the point gained won’t be worth the risk of an opponent’s time of possession. It will also provide defenses an even bigger incentive to force turnovers.
Fake punts become even more satisfying
In this instance, coaches are passing up the guaranteed point for the first down.
There’s increased pressure inside the 50
Because my rule combines Nanni’s, coaches are even more likely to go for it on fourth at the risk of a mathematical safety.
With the above in mind, it’s clear that if points are going to be award for punts, it should be to the offense.