Pop Warner Becomes First National Football Organization to Eliminate Kickoffs

Aims to decrease full-speed impact in games; Pop Warner to also reduce contact to 25% of practice time

Kickoffs-articleLANGHORNE, PA – In another major step to make the game safer and better: Pop Warner today announced that it will become the first national football organization to eliminate kickoffs

The ban, which will take affect in the three youngest divisions when the season begins this fall, is aimed at significantly reducing the amount of full-speed, head-on impact in games.

Instead of kicking it off, the ball will be placed at the 35-yard line to start each half and after each score in all Tiny Mite (5-to-7-years-old), Mitey Mite (7-9) and Junior Pee Wee (8-10) games.

Following the season, Pop Warner will review the results of the move as it considers implementation in older divisions.

“We are constantly working to make the game safer and better for our young athletes, and we think this move is an important step in that direction,” said Jon Butler, Pop Warner’s executive director.

“Eliminating kickoffs at this level adds another layer of safety without changing the nature of this great game. We are excited to look at the results at the end of the year as we explore additional measures.”


PopWarner football has been around since the inception of the league in 1929 by founder Joseph J. Tomlin as a four-team conference in Northeast Philadelphia.

Since then, participation has steadily increased to today’s record numbers. Over 250,000 youths participated in Pop Warner-sanctioned football programs in 2010, and those numbers are continuing to grow.


Kids compete with kids of similar age and size. Pop Warner is the ONLY youth football program (local, regional and national) that sets and enforces a strict AGE & WEIGHT MATRIX that reduces the risk and reality of injuries.

Did you know that Pop Warner football is safer than soccer? Pop Warner football has 12% fewer injuries per capita among 5-15 year olds than organized soccer in the same age range! (U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, NEISS)


Pop Warner exists to use football, cheerleading, dance and a respect for education to develop strong, smart, responsible, healthy young men and women. We give them experiences that build their appreciation for and understanding of leadership, teamwork, and discipline.

While individual statistics may be more common, particularly among older football players, Pop Warner only recognizes the athletic accomplishments of the team, not the individual. We don’t track personal tallies of touchdowns or yards rushing per game. We don’t count sacks or blocked kicks. We applaud the athletic efforts of the team to reinforce the importance of teamwork, with each member.

We don’t try to build stars. We don’t want to over-inflate a young ego, nor do we want to risk injuring the self-esteem of a young person. Whether our kids have good days or bad, they are still an integral part of our team…and always will be.