Bears ignored new kickoff rule, twice

AP

One of the most controversial new rules of the 2011 season relates to the placement of the kickoff.  With the NFL realizing that the kick-return play is one of the most dangerous in the game, the league has essentially tried to take bullets out of the gun, moving the kickoff point up five yards in order to engineer more touchbacks — and thus fewer returns.

The Bears opposed the move, and on Saturday night they ignored it.  Twice.

According to Mike Pereira of FOX Sports, the Bears lined up their first and second kickoffs from Robbie Gould at the 30, not the 35.  Per Pereira, NFL V.P. of officiating Carl Johnson (Pereira’s successor) called Soldier Field and “put a stop to it.”

He shouldn’t have had to.  The officials running the game should have known where to line up the ball.  Even if, as Pereira explains it, the Bears wanted to be able to practice kick coverage against the Bills and weren’t simply rebelling against the rule, the Bears should have been required to line up at the 35 when kicking the ball off.

After two kicks from the 30, they were.

Of course, if they really wanted to kick off from the 30 that badly, all they had to do was commit a five-yard penalty.

65 responses to “Bears ignored new kickoff rule, twice

  1. Haven’t you figured out by now. We can do whatever we want on and TO our football field.
    Even the refs got so distracted by it they couldn’t tell where the 35 was.

  2. The refs during the game should have definately caught this. I’ve watched a couple of pre-season games so far and I have to say the officiating has already been dismal…

  3. OK, just wait until the ref throws a flag for delay of game. That’s 5 yards and no more controversy.

  4. It’s a dumb rule and if anything, it probably let the Bills have a 5 yard advantage. Breaking rules yet getting screwed over is kinda funny if you ask me..

  5. It is entirely possible that the Bears didn’t know about the new rule. This is, after all, the same team that gift-wrapped millions of dollars and a starting WR gig for Roy “not Mike” Williams and instead of sending Devin Hester back to returning kicks and playing defense, they bench their top WR from last year, and the one with the most promise and upside.

    This is also the team who seems unable to grow a rectangular patch of grass successfully.

    I can imagine Lovie in his best Tommy Flanagan impersonation: “Um, we were protesting the new rule. Yeah, that’s the ticket. It was my wife’s idea. You know, Morgan Fairchild.”

  6. Thumbs up if you believe the Bears did this on accident because they didn’t remember to rule, not in protest of the rule.

  7. say what you want, but Toub knows what he’s doing. Bears have the best ST in the league hands down. No one is even close

  8. And Our Oline was horrible again. Garza looked lost. While Chris Spence actually looked pretty good. I dont know who’s more stubborn. Lovie or Martz SMH

  9. Why would the kicking team want to put it farther back, it’s the receiving team that doesn’t benefit from the new rule. The kicking team should want to put the ball on the 35 so there is less chance of a run back so why they would intentionally want to put it at the 30 is a bit strang.

  10. In defense of the officials, it’s hard to tell what yardline you’re on when there’s no grass on the field or any visible yardlines.

  11. FinFan68 says:
    Aug 13, 2011 10:58 PM
    OK, just wait until the ref throws a flag for delay of game. That’s 5 yards and no more controversy.
    ——————–

    As an average joe fan I would just decline the penalty.

  12. From starting Rex Grossman, to trading for Jay Cutler without any receivers, to trying to start an offensive line full of 7th rounders… the Lovie Smith era Bears have never let reality stand in their way.

  13. …and let me tell you this. the older you get, the more rules they’re going to try to get you to follow. but you just gotta keep playin’ man. p-l-a-y-i-n

  14. Of course, if they really wanted to kick off from the 30 that badly, all they had to do was commit a five-yard penalty.

    You heard it here first, this becomes the latest league fade joining old favorites such calling a timeout right before the FG attempt.

  15. Like I said before this isn’t the greatest rule change the NFL has ever made. I mean it’s good they are trying to make the game safer but they are also taking the excitment out the game as well. Kickoffs were a big part of the game.

  16. the only reason they dont get rid of the kickoff all together is that they would lose all those commercial breaks…. the nfl LOVES commercial breaks

  17. Hey! Logic here. How about NO running starts on kickoffs. The kicking team lines up at the 35 and cannot cross the line until the ball is kicked.
    PERIOD.
    This slows the momentum of the kicking team while at the same time brings the on side kick into play more then ever.
    Someone in the league office is NOT thinking this through.
    Why start running on the kickoff… get rid of it and make the players use their skills to avoid being blocked while trying to get in position to make a tackle from a standing start.
    Problem solved.

  18. Good for you Bears. NFL is turning into a joke. Why not just get rid of pads and helmets and use flags.

    Soon you will start seeing more tampon commercials then beer commercials, Martha Stewart will be doing color commentary and Harvey Firestein will be coaching the Steelers.

    I thought football was back?

  19. hey bears fans, relax….it was us, the bills. that should tell you nine sacks is just a preseason anomoly. no need to worry. trust me.

  20. “4evrnyt says:
    Aug 13, 2011 11:15 PM
    Why would the kicking team want to put it farther back, it’s the receiving team that doesn’t benefit from the new rule. The kicking team should want to put the ball on the 35 so there is less chance of a run back so why they would intentionally want to put it at the 30 is a bit strang.”

    Probably because it’s the preseason and they wanted to get a good look at their special teams unit in action so they can actually be able to make decisions on who to cut and who to keep.

  21. The new rule does suck….lets eliminate kick offs all together….

    What about the old XFL (anyone remember that) rule….Have the fastest guy from each team sprint for the ball at the 50 yard line. Whoever wins get the ball.

  22. @tooloftools

    Are you a moron? They are still gonna be running full speed by the time they get to the ball carrier!

    Plus, they are already not allowed to cross the line until the ball is kicked.

    Do you even watch football? Or do you only watch the bears?

  23. I think people are blowing this new rule on kick offs up way to big. In fact I am willing to be we have the same amount of kick offs returned for TDs this year as we did last year.

    The time i think this rule could really affect anything is teams who play the raiders because Janikowski can kick it out of the end zone everytime. But for the most part i think it just means guys will have to take a lil bit more of a risk coming out of the end zone.

    Does anyone really think Cribbs or Hester is going to take a knee because the ball is 5 yrds futher in the endzone ?? Really ? No, these guys are still going to return kicks and still make crazy plays. Do i like it ?? No. Is it that big of a deal ?? no its not.

  24. Bad rule. The littlebrains in the NFL office got it wrong. Abandon it.

    Let’s see– a Commish who gets booed and a league office trying to rekindle enthusiasm after thoroughly bothching the labor negotiations (except for rookie scale) now figure that they’ll try to eliminate one of the most exciting plays in football– the kickoff return.

    Shrewd.

  25. Thanks for Olsen, 3 rec for 58 yards and a TD, looks like Chud is going to use him alot, shockey and olsen going to tear up bears D, I wanna see Olsen quite the crowd like Peppers did last year, when we play yall in october!!!!!! I like the bears though, that O line needs to be replaced!!!! 9 sacks !!!

  26. I’m with the Bears. Return the kickoffs to the 30.
    With the lockout behind us, the greatest threat to the game has become owners meddling like this that is destroying the essence of the game.

  27. dennis2488 says: Aug 14, 2011 12:28 AM

    they wanted to make a point. committing a penalty wouldnt have done anything.
    —————————
    They failed. What was their point, that as a team they don’t have to follow the rules? Great. The Bears are the immature street punk of the NFL, and they’re about to be chewed up and spit out like so much trash. But at least they have a decent special teams. Yeah they’re special… short bus special.

  28. If you really want to practice kick coverage that badly, why not simply tell the kicker not to kick the ball into the endzone. I’m sure that he’s capable of doing that.

  29. Actually, this was coordinated with ahead of time with the bills. The bears wanted to work their coverage team and the bills OK’d it in the spirit of pre-season football being meaningless.

  30. One overlooked element of the rule change is that all existing kickoff return records will now have to have an asterisk beside them to indicate that they came under the old rules.

  31. lildon96 says:
    Aug 13, 2011 10:53 PM
    Fight the power!
    ===============================
    LOL, Amen!

    Dumb a$% rule change to begin with. More teams should ignore it. And players should ran it out and two had KOR for TD’s (San Diego, New Orleans)

  32. Yeah, this all seems like needlessly stirring the pot.

    They’ve had limited padwork this summer, and touchbacks don’t exactly let you practice kickoff coverage.

  33. Lovie and company seem like a good group of guys who love the game… they’re just not the sharpest knives in the drawer… and prove it on numerous occassions annually.

  34. laeaglefan says: “One overlooked element of the rule change is that all existing kickoff return records will now have to have an asterisk beside them to indicate that they came under the old rules.” Uh, which ones? 1941-1973, 40 yd line, 1974-1993 35 yd line, 1994-2010 30 yd line, 2011-???? 35 yd line.

  35. “Of course, if they really wanted to kick off from the 30 that badly, all they had to do was commit a five-yard penalty.”

    Ha, i love it

  36. This is typical of what we see in the league each year … refs who clearly have no idea what the rules are or an entire squad of officials who together can’t manage to notice a blatant rules violation. Instead of worrying about appeasing female viewers by integrating females into the officiating corps, Goodell should worry more about preserving the integrity of the game by installing the NCAA’s booth review system and hiring people who know what they’re doing.

  37. They failed. What was their point, that as a team they don’t have to follow the rules? Great. The Bears are the immature street punk of the NFL, and they’re about to be chewed up and spit out like so much trash. But at least they have a decent special teams. Yeah they’re special… short bus special.

    ____________

    Mr. Commisioner? is that you? dammit roger no messageboards or blogs.

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