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League officials admit touchback rule may have unintended consequences

New England Patriots v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Getty Images

The NFL views kickoff returns as the most dangerous play in football, with players running full speed at each other. As a result, the league continues to pass new rules designed to increase the number of touchbacks and decrease the number of returns. Another such rule was passed today.

But league officials are acknowledging that the rule passed today — moving touchbacks to the 25-yard line — may have exactly the opposite effect of what was intended: Although kickoff returners will be more likely to keep the ball in the end zone because a touchback will earn them an extra five yards, kickers may be more likely to kick the ball high and short in an effort to pin the opposing returner inside the 25. If that’s the approach that kickers across the league take, kickoff returns will increase, and touchbacks will decrease.

NFL executive V.P. of football operations Troy Vincent said today on NFL Network that league officials, competition committee members, coaches and owners have spent a great deal of time debating whether the new touchback rule will increase or decrease the number of returns. Although Vincent says the NFL hopes that returns will decrease, he acknowledges that returns might increase.

“It was debated and discussed at length, and I think that’s why it was a one-year playing proposal is to see: Are the implications what we hope they will be, with less returns?” Vincent said.

NFL V.P. of officiating Dean Blandino agreed.

“We put it in for one year so we can look at if there are any unintended consequences, and we won’t get stuck with a rule,” Blandino said. “It’ll be interesting to see how it plays out.”

For the NFL, the worst-case scenario is that a return man gets injured while fielding a high and short kickoff, and the league is blamed for its new rule putting the return man in that position. Don’t be surprised if a year from now, the NFL puts touchbacks back on the 20-yard line.

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107 Responses to “League officials admit touchback rule may have unintended consequences”
  1. footballinsider says: Mar 23, 2016 12:03 PM

    If I’m a special teams coach, I’m gonna have my kicker
    work on moonshot kicks.

    Returner either fair catches inside the ten or leaves
    the field on a backboard.

    Safer, gentler NFL.

  2. bullcharger says: Mar 23, 2016 12:04 PM

    Serious question… At what point does the NFL not have the right to change the rules of football? They are a league that plays a game. It may be time for a football federation that sits outside of all the leagues. The NFL should not just be able to do what it wants and change the game every single year. There has to be a limit.

  3. gromit45 says: Mar 23, 2016 12:05 PM

    Leave the game alone! It works. Don’t mess with it.

  4. therealraider says: Mar 23, 2016 12:05 PM

    Dean Blandino hasnt blown a whistle in his life but because he blows Roger Goodell, he’s the head of officiating.

  5. stoopidfool says: Mar 23, 2016 12:08 PM

    moonshot kicks to the 20 yard line…..ball does not come down until the coverage team is already there……it will be beatiful

    and oh yeah, goodell is a lying sack of poop

  6. mojolevy11 says: Mar 23, 2016 12:09 PM

    Here’s a though. If they’re so concerned about the kickoff, why don’t they make it a punt from the 50 then? That way, defenders aren’t running as fast or long and more “kickoffs” will result in fair catches thus avoiding any hits.

  7. firecracker87 says: Mar 23, 2016 12:09 PM

    Humans always have the need to fix what is not broken. This is another case in point.

  8. collectordude says: Mar 23, 2016 12:10 PM

    Stupid NFL. Trying to fix things that aren’t broken.

  9. lunar2013 says: Mar 23, 2016 12:11 PM

    “Although Vincent says the NFL hopes that returns will decrease”

    Then eliminate it and start them on the 20 every time. If it is the most dangerous play in the sport, get rid of it. If out of 100 return plays only 1 results in an exciting enough play, then it isn’t worth it.

  10. In Teddy We Trust says: Mar 23, 2016 12:12 PM

    league officials, competition committee members, coaches and owners have spent a great deal of time debating whether the new touchback rule will increase or decrease the number of returns.
    ________

    I noticed nobody thought to ask the fans. It’s obvious to us that this is a ridiculous rule.

  11. redsoxu571 says: Mar 23, 2016 12:13 PM

    Wow, this is ridiculous. We can already see how this is set to fail, and yet the NFL is proceeding anyway.

    NFL coaches try to find every edge they can. You can’t tell me that a team with a kicker capable of getting good air-time on a slightly shorter kick won’t aim to do that every time.

    Worse yet, what if some of the time a kicker attempts to kick it high and short, but kicks it TOO short and not quite high enough? Returners will be fielding some kicks with very little time between catch and hit, and that is the single biggest recipe for injury.

  12. bobleblah says: Mar 23, 2016 12:13 PM

    The obvious solution is to blindfold the kicker, spin him around 3 times, and make him kickoff from the 50.

    Problem solved.

  13. whoknowsnothing says: Mar 23, 2016 12:14 PM

    And the point of moving kickoffs to the 35-yard line was? (Face palm)

  14. phillyphan420 says: Mar 23, 2016 12:16 PM

    Was it REALLY necessary to change the game this much??

  15. baddegg says: Mar 23, 2016 12:16 PM

    Just outlaw returns then. After a score, the team not scoring a touchdown simply starts at the 20.

    I think that would take an exciting play out of the game, but why beat around the bush — just go right to the ultimate solution and be done with it.

  16. Jibbooo says: Mar 23, 2016 12:17 PM

    Has anyone seen any real stats regarding injury percentages on types of plays? I see everyone state that kick-offs are the most dangerous (and it makes sense), but I do not recall any article ever showing actual statistics proving that to be true.

    I watch a lot of football and I don’t recall noticing more or different amounts of injuries on kick-offs versus other types of plays.

    Also, if true, could it be that most of the players on kick-offs/special teams aren’t the top players and aren’t in the flow of the game when they go out there … so some of the injuries could be attributed to lack of “warmed up” players or just lesser athletes being on the field?

  17. eagleslakers says: Mar 23, 2016 12:17 PM

    If they’re concerned about high-hangtime, short kicks putting the returner in danger they should give the returner the option of making a fair catch like they do with punts.

  18. dallasfan76 says: Mar 23, 2016 12:20 PM

    If it ain’t broke…

  19. harrisonhits2 says: Mar 23, 2016 12:20 PM

    The fools and attorneys running the league are dead set on ruining the game.

    They had already lost me about 95% of the way and these rules changes along with Goodell’s corruption and double standards are removing any interest I have in the NFL.

  20. basilmarinerchase says: Mar 23, 2016 12:22 PM

    Did they experiment with this in preseason to gather data? If so, I don’t remember it. I don’t like the rule, but if there’s a measurable effect on safety, I’ll get behind it.

    When they changed extra point-distance, however, they ran a preseason with it first so they could gather data. I don’t see why they aren’t doing that here, running it for a preseason to gather data on how it’s used and whether it decreases risk or not.

  21. absodefinitely says: Mar 23, 2016 12:24 PM

    Why not just put the ball at the 50 and have a player from each team get a 10 yard sprint at it and see who comes up with it? oh, wait…..nevermind

  22. abqhawk says: Mar 23, 2016 12:26 PM

    lunar2013 says:
    Mar 23, 2016 12:11 PM

    “Although Vincent says the NFL hopes that returns will decrease”

    Then eliminate it and start them on the 20 every time. If it is the most dangerous play in the sport, get rid of it. If out of 100 return plays only 1 results in an exciting enough play, then it isn’t worth it.
    ===================================

    It may be safer, but it would also be equally BORING!

  23. stoneydog1000 says: Mar 23, 2016 12:28 PM

    Brandon Tate will still bring it out and trip on the 10 yard line.

  24. bpearse230 says: Mar 23, 2016 12:29 PM

    All kickoff a will be coffin corner moon shots. If kickoff out of bounds is only 15 yards worse than touchback why not take the risk?

  25. magnoliasimms says: Mar 23, 2016 12:31 PM

    This doesn’t make any sense in regards to safety. Because they moved up the kickoff, there have been a lot more touchbacks, which was the point of moving the kickoff up. They wanted teams to run it out less often.

    But now if they move up the touchback to the 25, teams are going to have their kickers kick it high to keep it around the 20 yard line or less, which means more teams running it out, which means more chance of an injury. It’s not going to increase teams taking a touchback rather than trying to run it out, it’s going to increase kicking teams trying to land the ball short of the 25 yard line.

    This seems completely the opposite of thinking of player safety.

  26. bmoreb says: Mar 23, 2016 12:33 PM

    Upon further review, this rule change sucks !

  27. mattson01 says: Mar 23, 2016 12:34 PM

    NFL coaches tend to be very conservative and I believe that they’ll take the extra 5 yards much more often than not. That would suggest that it is the interest of special teams to remove that 5 yard freebee. I could see teams playing safe to start the season and then ramp up the occurrence of shorter, higher kicks as the season (and game) goes on.

  28. gary2525 says: Mar 23, 2016 12:37 PM

    Football is becoming a sissy sport in 10 yrs it will be flag football

  29. cybersqueak says: Mar 23, 2016 12:38 PM

    Kick offs can be the most exciting plays in football. I would like to see more returns, not less. BRING BACK THE WEDGE!

  30. jag1959 says: Mar 23, 2016 12:39 PM

    baddegg says:
    Mar 23, 2016 12:16 PM
    Just outlaw returns then. After a score, the team not scoring a touchdown simply starts at the 20.
    ________________

    If it were not for the onside kick that would probably already be a done deal if this were really about safety. The obvious consequence of this rule is more returns, not less. It wouldn’t surprise me if the real idea behind this was to actually increase returns, they are among the most exciting plays in the game.

  31. thevza says: Mar 23, 2016 12:42 PM

    Let’s pass a new rule that might make the problem we’re trying to solve even worse. Really, NFL? What a bunch of geniuses over there.
    At this point, I agree with those who say the kickoff should just be removed from the game. Onside kicks are even more dangerous! Just give everyone the ball at the 20 and call it a day. It’s going to happen eventually anyway.

  32. Kaz says: Mar 23, 2016 12:43 PM

    Every year it’s a new sport. Fans, Players, Coaches hate all these changes but Owners/Goodell keeps changing the sport.

    Stupid new rule. You can officially flip the channel now during kick offs. That’s the true unintended consequence.

  33. veddermn8 says: Mar 23, 2016 12:45 PM

    Does this new touchback rule also apply to punts and free kicks after safeties? Does it apply to fumbles that go out of the end zone?

  34. drywormdryworm says: Mar 23, 2016 12:46 PM

    The high kick strategy won’t work in Dallas.

  35. abninf says: Mar 23, 2016 12:46 PM

    mojolevy11 says:

    Here’s a though. If they’re so concerned about the kickoff, why don’t they make it a punt from the 50 then?
    ===============================

    Why don’t they eliminate the kick and give the team the ball at the 20 yard line?

    I hope this rule has unintended consequences. I want to see a more exciting game, not a less exciting one.

  36. ipdaily69 says: Mar 23, 2016 12:47 PM

    Kickoff returns cause serious injury….but we want teams to retain the option of putting themselves in harms way.
    Hmmmmm……..So why is the NFL so emphatic about continuing the kickoff charade?
    Answer: Kickoffs provide commercial breaks which fattens wallets of the Full 32.
    Truth……Dollars outweigh safety and this is another revealing example of the money grubbing NFL in action.

  37. In Teddy We Trust says: Mar 23, 2016 12:49 PM

    They won’t expand replay because they don’t want to increase the length of games. How much time would they save if they eliminated the meaningless kickoff? I’d much rather see officials get the call right than watch a kickoff go through the end zone multiple times a game.

  38. troylok says: Mar 23, 2016 12:49 PM

    If the objective is to reduce the harm from kickoff returns, just do away with them. Give the other team the ball on the twenty and play ball. I am of the crowd that thinks they should just leave the game the hell alone, but if there is that much evidence out there that kickoffs are a major contributor to injury, then just get rid of the kickoff.

    Of course, next comes punts…

  39. gassiusclay says: Mar 23, 2016 12:50 PM

    if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it…

  40. 2ruefan says: Mar 23, 2016 12:53 PM

    bullcharger says:
    Mar 23, 2016 12:04 PM

    Serious question… At what point does the NFL not have the right to change the rules of football?
    *********************************************

    LOL, I find it amusing that you started this post with “serious question”..

    REALLY? You don’t find the extreme silliness in asking why a Sport would have the right to regulate the rules of their SPORT?

    I think it’s time the NFL stop worrying about political correctness in all forms (CTE, gender issues, political issues, Ethnic names of Teams issues) and get back to worrying about one thing only.. “Is the game interesting to fans”?

    If the game is too dangerous because of concussions or injuries, or whatever, players can either NOT play for the 100s of thousands or millions they make or sign a waiver saying “Yes, I understand this sport is dangerous and I might incur lasting injuries from it.”

    Eliminating touchbacks. What next? Eliminate tackling the QB?

  41. seabrawk12 says: Mar 23, 2016 12:56 PM

    Injuries will happen regardless. This rule would not have prevented what happened to Ricardo Locket in Dallas. Pointless change.

  42. grandstandrice says: Mar 23, 2016 12:56 PM

    Probably the reason they haven’t outlawed kickoffs is then you couldn’t have onside kicks.

  43. seabrawk12 says: Mar 23, 2016 12:57 PM

    Lockette*

  44. jmethane says: Mar 23, 2016 1:00 PM

    These guys keep changing the rules like it is a brand new game and we are trying to figure out how to play it.

    They really just want to feel all important is all this is about. Changing the game “for the better” is what they want to be able to say in the end.

    The longer extra point wasn’t about safety but that actually worked out imho. We shall see about this one. It doesn’t look as promising.

  45. ( . Y . ) says: Mar 23, 2016 1:00 PM

    I tend to agree with the above comments that they should get rid of the kick all together and start at the 20.

    I’m not saying I am in favor of that, but what I am saying is, if the kick return play is soooo dangerous, why is it ok to have 500 returns per year, but not ok to have 600 returns??? If it is as dangerous as they are saying, then isn’t 1 kick return too much risk?

  46. abqhawk says: Mar 23, 2016 1:02 PM

    Another solution looking for a problem to solve.

  47. mmack66 says: Mar 23, 2016 1:05 PM

    Why don’t they just have teams spin a wheel with different yardline designations on it?

    They can even have a spot for “Touchdown!”

    The Bud Light Kickoff Spin.

  48. steelerben says: Mar 23, 2016 1:07 PM

    bullcharger says:
    Mar 23, 2016 12:04 PM
    Serious question… At what point does the NFL not have the right to change the rules of football? They are a league that plays a game. It may be time for a football federation that sits outside of all the leagues. The NFL should not just be able to do what it wants and change the game every single year. There has to be a limit.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    The NFL isn’t changing the rules of football, they are changing the rules of the NFL. And the NFL can change the rules of the NFL as much as they want, being the NFL and all.

  49. rollotomasi14 says: Mar 23, 2016 1:12 PM

    You can’t just get rid of the kick because that would take out the onside kick strategy.

  50. jag1959 says: Mar 23, 2016 1:13 PM

    ( . Y . ) says:
    Mar 23, 2016 1:00 PM
    I tend to agree with the above comments that they should get rid of the kick all together and start at the 20.

    I’m not saying I am in favor of that, but what I am saying is, if the kick return play is soooo dangerous, why is it ok to have 500 returns per year, but not ok to have 600 returns??? If it is as dangerous as they are saying, then isn’t 1 kick return too much risk?
    ____________

    Not as dangerou$ to ratings however as eliminating the onside kick. Without the threat of it a 2 score lead in the last few minutes of a game means millions of channels being changed

  51. bleedsoe9mm says: Mar 23, 2016 1:17 PM

    Just ask Bill Belichick’s thoughts on it and go with whatever he says , he’s always right on this stuff .

  52. johngaltwho says: Mar 23, 2016 1:19 PM

    This one is a mistake. I get the intent but its misguided. This part of the game did not require additional scrutiny.

  53. charger383 says: Mar 23, 2016 1:20 PM

    risk=exciting plays, isn’t that why NFL changed the extra point rule?

  54. randy8123 says: Mar 23, 2016 1:22 PM

    Don’t be fooled, that is exactly what they’re hoping for. If they can get an exciting play back in while cutting down the head start the two teams get before collision, so much the better. Now will it in actuality make kick returns more like punt returns thanks to the sky balls that kickers put up, perhaps making the play even more dangerous than it was originally? Almost certainly.

  55. pastanow says: Mar 23, 2016 1:25 PM

    In the near future there will a gentle exchange of the football at the 20 yard line on a change of possession served with a choice of tea or coffee, some artisanal chocolate, a warm hug and flutes playing the Star Spangled Banner.

  56. chris6523 says: Mar 23, 2016 1:34 PM

    If they wanted to reduce kickoffs, a more likely successful rule would be to have the ball placed at the 10 after touchbacks. Virtually every kick would be knocked clear out of the end zone. Most teams have a kicker that can do it now, but if they don’t they’ll find one.

  57. 3wordanswers says: Mar 23, 2016 1:36 PM

    If Blandino says its a good thing; my instant default position is to automatically believe the opposite…….

  58. youdrivemenutseagles says: Mar 23, 2016 1:38 PM

    Ok, just eliminate kick offs all together for Petes sake.

  59. fwippel says: Mar 23, 2016 1:38 PM

    Another bad idea. If they keep messing with the game, in a couple of decades, it will not look like the same game.

    But you are right on this: Automatically starting from the 25 yard line? Why not try pinning the offense deeper by kicking it high and short of the end zone?

  60. welcomehomelosangelesrams says: Mar 23, 2016 1:39 PM

    Why does the NFL feel the need to change the rules every year? No other sport does this. It’s no wonder officiating is bad when the refs have to study the changes in the rulebook every off-season.

  61. fufuni03 says: Mar 23, 2016 1:40 PM

    As we speak, Belichek has figured out a way to exploit this rule in a way that no one has thought of. He is as single minded as the Terminator. “This is all he does!”

  62. winfieldjoe says: Mar 23, 2016 1:43 PM

    Didn’t they move kickoffs to the 35 to increase run backs? Oops, so move the kickoff point back to the 40 yard line. Too simple, I guess.

  63. realityonetwo says: Mar 23, 2016 1:44 PM

    While they’re at it, just give the ball back to the team that scores if they’re still trailing.

  64. tvguy22 says: Mar 23, 2016 1:44 PM

    No way they get rid of the kickoff, though. This way, the league can still get the “Extra-Point, Commercial Break, Kickoff, Touchback, Commercial Break” two-fer experience.

  65. n2thaizzo says: Mar 23, 2016 1:54 PM

    Teams should instruct their kickers to keep kicking it out of bounds this year, let the NFL make the rule permanent, and then start decreasing the lengths of their kicks…

  66. baddegg says: Mar 23, 2016 1:56 PM

    Newsflash: tackling causes injuries. We have decided to eliminate tacking. Except for when you have to knock another player down, because that is exciting.

    What?

  67. johnodocks says: Mar 23, 2016 1:57 PM

    eagleslakers says:
    Mar 23, 2016 12:17 PM

    If they’re concerned about high-hangtime, short kicks putting the returner in danger they should give the returner the option of making a fair catch like they do with punts.
    =======================================

    The kickoff return team has always had the option of fair catching a kickoff as they do a punt. That’s why kickers don’t just pop the ball directly up in the air for “on-side” kick attempts. They have it it the ground first because you can’t fair catch a ball that has hit the ground.

  68. osiris33 (bandwagon since 1976) says: Mar 23, 2016 2:00 PM

    Keep the kickoffs. Get rid of the competition committee.

  69. chiefsdodgerslakers24 says: Mar 23, 2016 2:00 PM

    They can just have punters punt from the 35 instead of actually kicking off. Would only be 45 yards in the air to the opposing 20 and every lunge is capable of doing that. They would probably have to fair catch every time

  70. hrmlss says: Mar 23, 2016 2:04 PM

    Kick it from the 10, give all the players a shield and a jousting lance. The result can’t be any more ridiculous than all the crap they are trying.

  71. cueghost says: Mar 23, 2016 2:06 PM

    You would eliminate a lot of kickoffs by simply giving each team an option to waive the kickoff (after scores) and take an automatic touchback (at the 20). If either team elects to have a kick off, then kick it off from the 30 yard line and play ball. Sure it would be obvious when a team needs an on-side kick, but that’s already true…. The only thing you’d really lose out on are the “surprise” on-side kicks. Teams that have a special talent in the return game might elect for a kickoff once in awhile for a spark, but I believe there would be a huge reduction in kick-offs…

  72. randomjoeblow says: Mar 23, 2016 2:14 PM

    Have you ever watched kickers try to do either angled or high, short kicks on kickoffs? They’re not very good at it.

  73. fatsolio says: Mar 23, 2016 2:28 PM

    Won’t be long before the NFL eliminates kickoffs and has teams start at the 50 yard line and we’ll start seeing arena football type game scores.

  74. PhD says: Mar 23, 2016 2:33 PM

    Suits who never played the game making up rules, again.

  75. dexterismyhero says: Mar 23, 2016 2:35 PM

    Let all the Patriot fans vote on it. We all know they are the most knowledgeable out there right?

  76. bobnelsonjr says: Mar 23, 2016 2:48 PM

    How about having the Competition Committee meet once every 5 years?

  77. darkneptune73 says: Mar 23, 2016 2:49 PM

    Changing the game of Football, one rule at a time.

  78. nflpoker says: Mar 23, 2016 2:54 PM

    The league must realize that when a football is kicked off, it is a live ball. That gives the players on the kicking team incentive to go all out to recover the ball. It is not a punt where the punt returner can just step away from the ball. The ball when it is kicked off will probably be high and with a lot of arc so it may close to the 25 anyway.

    Get the stretchers out.

  79. RedStateDave says: Mar 23, 2016 3:13 PM

    Dumb rule

  80. boyso3 says: Mar 23, 2016 3:14 PM

    Is there any way in hell that Roger Goodell’s time as Commissioner will be viewed as a good thing?

  81. dustbowldano says: Mar 23, 2016 3:17 PM

    Come on guys. You know they can’t eliminate kickoffs. Where would they squeeze all the commercial breaks in then?

  82. hailtothenamechange says: Mar 23, 2016 3:19 PM

    If kickers could hit moonshots that forced fair catches at the 10, don’t you think they’d be doing it already?

  83. bigbeefyd says: Mar 23, 2016 3:20 PM

    This just might get someone killed.

  84. mmack66 says: Mar 23, 2016 3:31 PM

    n2thaizzo says:
    Mar 23, 2016 1:54 PM

    Teams should instruct their kickers to keep kicking it out of bounds this year, let the NFL make the rule permanent, and then start decreasing the lengths of their kicks…
    ————————

    The NFL would just move where the ball is kicked. Again.

  85. mmack66 says: Mar 23, 2016 3:35 PM

    The only rational outcome of this rule change is going to be shorter kicks. Why would the kicking team want to give the receiving team an automatic extra 5 yards?

  86. dal1as says: Mar 23, 2016 3:39 PM

    Such a stupid rule to change. They keep messing around and adding new rules. It is just ruining the game. Leave it alone

  87. yoyophil says: Mar 23, 2016 3:49 PM

    Make players on both teams wear the sumo wrestler fat suits. Than when they collide it is safe and extremely funny for the fans. I have some more ideas about wide receivers on stilts…

  88. ebdug says: Mar 23, 2016 3:53 PM

    I’m with Goodell and the owners on this one, only they should make the touchback line the forty.

  89. pats are better than your team says: Mar 23, 2016 4:03 PM

    How long before John Harbaugh cries about losing a game because he wasn’t aware of the rule change?

  90. conormacleod says: Mar 23, 2016 4:04 PM

    stoopidfool
    Mar 23, 2016, 11:08 AM CDT
    moonshot kicks to the 20 yard line…..ball does not come down until the coverage team is already there……it will be beatiful
    —–
    More than one of these ridiculous comments.

    If kickers could do this, don’t you think it would be happening already?!

  91. conormacleod says: Mar 23, 2016 4:06 PM

    If Goodell and the nfl implemented a rule that there should be free beer and nachos at games, 75% of you would complain about that too.

  92. frenzy95 says: Mar 23, 2016 4:07 PM

    They will never eliminate the kick offs because that would cause them to lose a commercial time-out. Money > Saftey.

  93. conormacleod says: Mar 23, 2016 4:08 PM

    PhD
    Mar 23, 2016, 1:33 PM CDT
    Suits who never played the game making up rules, again.
    —–
    Those suits own the game and the teams, and are worth billions of dollars each. Who else should make up the rules of the game they own?!?!

  94. mmack66 says: Mar 23, 2016 4:11 PM

    Do any of you people ever stop to consider that it is more probable than not that the teams themselves want to avoid kickoff returns?

    The kickoff return is a wildcard to be avoided.

  95. conormacleod says: Mar 23, 2016 4:12 PM

    winfieldjoe
    Mar 23, 2016, 12:43 PM CDT
    Didn’t they move kickoffs to the 35 to increase run backs? Oops, so move the kickoff point back to the 40 yard line. Too simple, I guess.
    —–
    Kick offs were at the 30. Then moved to the 35. So, no.

  96. conormacleod says: Mar 23, 2016 4:13 PM

    welcomehomelosangelesrams
    Mar 23, 2016, 12:39 PM CDT
    Why does the NFL feel the need to change the rules every year? No other sport does this. It’s no wonder officiating is bad when the refs have to study the changes in the rulebook every off-season.
    ——
    Every sport does this. You just don’t pay as much attention to other sports.

  97. pondbridge says: Mar 23, 2016 4:24 PM

    So no Goodell kickoff moonshots at JerryWorld because it’ll hit the low hanging JerrytTron? Can’t wait for the claims of discrimination.

  98. pondbridge says: Mar 23, 2016 4:26 PM

    No kickoff. Start at 20 (Thanks, Capt. Obvious)

  99. whatjusthapped says: Mar 23, 2016 4:38 PM

    Did the Vikings vote no on this? It seems to me that if you are going to trade 3 picks to move up in the first round to pick up a kick off returner, this rule really hampers your team. Heaven forbid Flush Patterson learns how to be a WR.

  100. dnvrfan11 says: Mar 23, 2016 5:00 PM

    of course the number of returns will increase. in a game where every inch of the field matters think about how much 5 yards matters.

  101. fsu01 says: Mar 23, 2016 5:11 PM

    This has been happening in college football recently, so there is data to be had. Just see what effect the rule had on kickoff-touchback-kick return injuries in college football. As far as eliminating the kickoff altogether or eliminating the on-side kicks they can use the Greg Schiano proposal: The team that is kicking the ball off will get the ball on their own 20 yard line with a 4th and 20. They then could either punt the ball or go for it.

  102. getadealdonealready says: Mar 23, 2016 5:38 PM

    I’d say just have QB’s and KR’s were flags!

    I miss real football……

  103. bubbybrister/shovelpass says: Mar 23, 2016 5:55 PM

    If you take away the kicks, then they would be forced to take out the “foot” in football…

    … And that would make Rex sad.

  104. ebdug says: Mar 23, 2016 6:07 PM

    Any coach worth his salt appreciates the value of backing up a team toward their own goal line. Even some NFL coaches feel that way.

  105. bobnelsonjr says: Mar 23, 2016 6:26 PM

    Why are injuries a concern?

    Players are well paid for the risk they accept.

    Collisions made football America’s #1 sport.

    Most players are in the league less than 4 years, that’s why 5 years earns an NFL pension.

  106. TheWizard says: Mar 23, 2016 6:32 PM

    Then eliminate it and start them on the 20 every time

    They won’t give up the commercial breaks that come with the kickoff.

  107. dbradley29 says: Mar 23, 2016 6:46 PM

    first time i heard the rule change this was my first thought. any half-way competent coach and kicker will just kick to the 10 every time and take their chances saving a few yards. just leave it the way it is, kick returns are getting rare as it is

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