If the NFL wanted to eliminate what’s potentially one of the most exciting plays in football, they did a good job on Tuesday.
The league decided to move kickoffs from the 30 to the 35-yard line. You know what that means?
You’re only going to see touchbacks in the NFL, next season.
I’m probably overreacting a bit, but you’re certainly going to see a lot more touchbacks. Hell, the move probably helps the Packers. They haven’t been able to find a decent kick returner since Allen Rossum.
The move was made in the name of player safety, but could actually make it more dangerous for the return man, as we discussed on the forum.
The NFL actually altered the original idea slightly. Instead of moving touchbacks from the 20 to the 25, as was originally planned, they decided to leave well enough alone. They also allowed the two-man wedge, which would have been ruled illegal in the original proposal, and they adjusted running starts for coverage teams. Players on the coverage team can only get a five-yard running start now, as opposed to the 10 or 15-yard start they were allowed before.
Predictably, many of the league’s better returners were ticked.
“They’re going too far. They’re changing the whole fun of the game,” Chicago Bears return man Devin Hester said.” “Fans come out — especially in Chicago — to see returns. That’s one of the key assets to the team. Fans [like] our big returns. You take that out of the game, not only do they kick it out of bounds when it’s time to punt the ball, now you get the disadvantage on kickoffs. We felt we were guaranteed [a chance] on kickoff returns and now you’re taking that away, it’s like you’re taking the whole return game out of the picture.”
The league didn’t stop there, either. They also passed three other rule changes.
Booth replay officials will now have to confirm all scoring plays, which will invariably give you more time to buy and consume beer while you’re at the game.
The other two changes were minor. Teams will not be able to change the color of their field without league approval and dead ball fouls will not extend the half.
stupid. bunch of fucking idiots
Will this stop 315lb guards from returning the ball 60 yards on the Packers Special Teams?
It sucks for football in general but for the packers its good news, lousy lousy kick return and coverage teams since desmond howard took it to the house. On every packer kick return I just hope they get to the 20 and go down without fumbling, thats all i ask.
Ha! People are either very young or have short memories. All NFL kickoffs were from the 35 prior to 1994. All college kickoffs were from the 35 prior to 2007. This is no big “change.” The NFL is merely putting it back to where it was.
This should increase the number of touchbacks by 10-20%. Not a huge deal.
Of course, this potentially takes money out of the pockets of Devin Hester and Josh Cribbs; so one would expect them to bitch. Hey, become reliable starters and you won’t have to worry about it.
This is certainly a sweet deal for the Packers. We don’t have a kicker who regularly kicks it into the endzone, and we have no big return guy. Meanwhile, this hurts the Bears and Vikings. So, all in all, great rule change!
How often did the Packers pop it up or scrib kick it last year? Quite a bit. Now that nearly every NFL kicker can make the endzone and has a decent chance for a touchback, you will see far fewer pop ups and scribs. Coaches are conservative by nature and will certainly let their kickers kick for the endzone.
Also, a kickoff can be fair caught, same as a punt.
The new rules will drastically change the game, as they did in 1994. It doesn’t necessarily ensure fewer kickoff collisions than there would be without it.
Selfishly, I was quite excited by this rule change. I’d be surprised if the Packers opponents starting feel position averaged to be any worse than the 30… Kickoffs were just a major weak spot for the Pack. If Crosby can just boot it to the endzone and get more touchbacks it will be a MAJOR boost to our defense and help our offense with better field position.
On top of that, the Packers return game has been pretty much abysmal for some time now. More touchbacks wouldn’t be a bad thing as kickoffs are just a great opportunity for an injury to a key player (we’ve had Jordy and Sam Shields back there) or a turnover, like when Jordy fumbled late in the game against Detroit.
Overall: Good news for the Pack, bad for a lot of the league.
My position is that it kind of sucked that teams had to consider return guys and so on as a position. Hey, if you can’t move the ball with your offense, it’s bullchit you score with an offensive lineman capische?
I can’t say at all it’s bad for the league unless you’re a fan of that stuff. Kinda like watching racing waiting for an accident. Of course if Josh Cribbs were a Packer I’d feel differently.