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Goodell: NFL won’t change kickoff rule during season

OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 18:  Taiwan Jones #22 of the Oakland Raiders dives on the ball after dropping a kickoff by the Atlanta Falcons during their NFL game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on September 18, 2016 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images) Getty Images

The adjustment to the touchback has backfired on the NFL, resulting in more kickoff returns, not fewer, through the first two weeks of the 2016 regular season. Regardless, the change will remain for the rest of the season.

Commissioner Roger Goodell told Jay Feely of CBS that the touchbacks following kickoffs will continue to be placed at the 25 yard line, regardless of the increase in kickoff returns.

Previously, NFL senior V.P. of officiating Dean Blandino previously said that the league will need four weeks of kick-return data before it can assess whether the rule is working. Some interpreted that to mean the league would consider after four weeks an in-season change. Blandino, however, never said that.

Shifting the touchback to the 20 during the season would have a competitive impact, with a certain number of games played under one set of rules and the rest played under another. For that reason alone, it’s rare that rules change during a given year.

Although the owners will meet in October and could try to vote on their own to change the rule, a source with knowledge of the situation tells PFT that in-season rule changes fall squarely within the Commissioner’s jurisdiction.

Regardless of what happens over the rest of the season, then, the touchback point for kickoffs will continue to be the 25 yard line. Because the rule was adopted on a one-year trial basis, a vote of 24 owners will be needed to continue it in 2017. Given that the rule was aimed at reducing returns and likely will increase them, it’s safe to say that this will be a one-year experiment with the so-called “most dangerous play in the game.”

It’s also safe to say the league will spend the next 223 regular-season games and 11 postseason games worrying about the increase in kickoff returns resulting in the kind of catastrophic head or neck injury that the NFL had hoped to avoid. If that kind of injury occurs during the return of a kickoff deliberately kicked short in an effort to pin the return team within the 25, the criticism of the league will be loud, intense, and fully justified.

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41 Responses to “Goodell: NFL won’t change kickoff rule during season”
  1. cma1973 says: Sep 23, 2016 12:35 AM

    BB found a flaw in this rule too. And was among the first to find it.

  2. lewsblues says: Sep 23, 2016 12:41 AM

    college football has survived just fine with this rule in place …

    I don’t think the 5 yards is that big of a factor in a team scoring on a drive or not.


  3. factsanybody says: Sep 23, 2016 12:46 AM

    It’s not like Goodell would ever admit he was wrong by changing it back.

  4. sbrink1414 says: Sep 23, 2016 12:52 AM

    league office is a well oiled machine

  5. sbrink1414 says: Sep 23, 2016 12:54 AM

    didn’t realize teams wouldn’t want to give up that extra five yards? didn’t realize that footballs lose air pressure when it’s cold. firing on all cylinders.

  6. weepingjebus says: Sep 23, 2016 12:57 AM

    Epic fire Goodell chants during the NFL Network’s own postgame show. This guy truly is the anti-Midas.

  7. pats777 says: Sep 23, 2016 1:23 AM

    Idiots running the asylum.

  8. nyctraffic says: Sep 23, 2016 1:26 AM

    Silly reason not to cancel the rule right now.

  9. magikskillz says: Sep 23, 2016 1:29 AM

    No surprise here. Roger Goodell and the rest of 345 Park Avenue do not believe in logic, science and many other things. Field position means everything. Every extra yard matters. Its a big deal to start a drive on the 25 versus the 20. Its why Belichick is smart and forces returns. As a Chargers fan if our Belichick was our coach, went undefeated and lost the Super Bowl he’d be fired. The Chargers have a joke since the Spanos’ family fired Marty Schottenheimer.

  10. magikskillz says: Sep 23, 2016 1:31 AM

    Surprised Norv Turner didn’t get fired after going 13-3 and failing to win a playoff game. I wish my fellow football fans do not get cursed with incompetent owners like Jerry Jones and the Dean and John Spanos.

  11. nickinneohio says: Sep 23, 2016 1:41 AM

    Most fans want more kickoff returns.
    Are there really more injuries during kickoffs?
    I like the strategy of kicking short to tackle the returner before the 25.
    A stupid new rule actually becomes a positive for once.
    How about teams figure out how to not to get the “illegal block in the back” fouls on almost every KO.

  12. therealraider says: Sep 23, 2016 1:57 AM

    Blandino is nothing more than a Goodell alter boy.

  13. harrisonhits2 says: Sep 23, 2016 1:58 AM

    How about releasing the psi data from last season you science denying liar?

  14. wolfman55h says: Sep 23, 2016 2:02 AM

    Has anything gone right under Goodell’s leadership?

  15. flipola says: Sep 23, 2016 2:09 AM

    Of course not. Forget his “player safety” kick, his ego is way too big for that.

  16. sopadegato says: Sep 23, 2016 3:46 AM

    Injuries are going to happen. Hell, how many injuries have we had so far that didn’t even involve any sort of contact? How far does it go?

    Training camp injuries? Ban training camp.
    Preseason injuries? Ban preseason.

    Stop trying to change the game.

  17. One for the thumb says: Sep 23, 2016 5:14 AM

    The quickest way to eliminate kick returns would be to make touchbacks come out to the 15.

    They were trying to incentive the return team to not take it out when they should have incentivized the kicking team to kick it out the back of the end zone.

  18. rportkid says: Sep 23, 2016 5:54 AM

    Sad to say but Goodell and the rest of his buffoons are ruining the sport I used to love. It seems every day there are more bad decisions, more lies, more cover-ups, more incompetence.

  19. kmdp4 says: Sep 23, 2016 6:37 AM

    How stupid can you be there was no reason to change the rule they had a record number of touch backs last year. The NFL league office is a joke, just leave stuff the way it is. anyone with half a brain could tell you that moving it to the 25 was going to make teams change what they were doing.

  20. emcgeehan says: Sep 23, 2016 7:29 AM

    It doesn’t surprise me the front office isn’t on the same page

  21. eapear says: Sep 23, 2016 7:30 AM

    Just as in his Deflategate decision, Goodell 100% certain he got this right.

  22. swhughes81 says: Sep 23, 2016 7:31 AM

    There is nothing that’s as exciting as watching a kickoff return on NFL mobile while pooping

  23. bigbluedeadhead says: Sep 23, 2016 8:01 AM

    Is it possible that that this is creating more KO returns but that they are somehow lower speed/lower impact due to coverages having to wait on the pop-up?

  24. j0esixpack says: Sep 23, 2016 8:15 AM

    Gee – Roger Goodell almost sounds like a commissioner who never played the game of football!

    Oh, that’s right he never did. But pretty much every fan who played the game knew this would be the result – hey higher potential for injuries, not less.

    Goodell is destroying the game we love – but because he framed Tom Brady to try to fix some games on behalf of certain owners, most fans still like him.

    Well, currently it looks like the net result of FrameGate will be that the Pats will trade one quarterback for a first and fourth round pick, get Brady back well rested and ready for the playoffs…

    All while potentially retaining their quarterback of the future until Brady retires with a few more Super Bowl rings

    How do you like them apples Roger?

  25. TheDPR says: Sep 23, 2016 8:28 AM

    Note to Roger: We LIKE kick returns. Quit trying to eliminate them.

  26. j0esixpack says: Sep 23, 2016 8:32 AM

    Kind of interesting that Goodell has spent every Monday Sunday and Thursday night game tweeting away so far this season

    Well, all except for one game. Last nights game with the Patriots.

    He’s too intimidated to even go on Twitter during a Patriots game , let alone show up in Foxboro.

    He framed Brady, tried to fix the outcome of games in doing so, and just like with kickoffs, it’s all backfired.

    Worst and most corrupt commissioner of any sport, ever

  27. nolasoxfan2012 says: Sep 23, 2016 8:36 AM

    Since the Patriots have figured out how to use this rule to their advantage, I would expect Goodell and the other owners to try to change it back.

  28. pauldeba says: Sep 23, 2016 8:43 AM

    He was afraid to show up last night, he did go to a flag football game in yonkers and tweeted about it, the coward

  29. autumnwind999 says: Sep 23, 2016 8:45 AM

    – Leave it.
    – Move the extra point back to its old spot.
    – Lose the two personal fouls and you’re out rule.
    – Bring back padded practices
    – Don’t flag unintentional/unavoidable hits to the head

  30. tylawspick6 says: Sep 23, 2016 8:52 AM

    Why not? The Pats are benefitting from the rule change!

    Cheat the Pats again, Ropie!

    The dopey Millennial fantasy football playing morons, demand it!

  31. intrafinesse says: Sep 23, 2016 9:08 AM

    The Pats are the only team smart enough to try and kick the ball high and short, pinning the return team behind their 20.

    Other teams could do this but are stubborn and unwilling to adjust.

    I see kickoff returners taking it out and getting stopped short of the 20, or fumbling.
    Take a knee instead.

  32. newjerseygiants says: Sep 23, 2016 9:31 AM

    I think they should use 2 kickers and kick off 2 balls from the 20 with two kick returners waiting. Whatever ball is advanced further is where play begins. LMAO!

  33. ebdug says: Sep 23, 2016 10:08 AM

    With NFL TV ratings plummeting the owners may not be inclined to take away one of the exciting plays in the game.

  34. justintuckrule says: Sep 23, 2016 10:12 AM

    Love it!! Bunch of suits who’ve never played a down of football in their lives passing rules. Did they even ask any coaches for input? It’s like us passing new rules for airline safety.

  35. justintuckrule says: Sep 23, 2016 10:17 AM

    One for the thumb says:
    Sep 23, 2016 5:14 AM
    The quickest way to eliminate kick returns would be to make touchbacks come out to the 15.

    They were trying to incentive the return team to not take it out when they should have incentivized the kicking team to kick it out the back of the end zone.
    Wrong too. Not every team has a big leg. Every kick that doesn’t sail would be returned. The 20 is perfect. They keep trying to fix what ain’t broke.

  36. laces out says: Sep 23, 2016 10:36 AM

    the fact the Patriots were among the first to expose the flaws and make the rule backfire on the NFL makes it even funnier

  37. deadspindeluxe says: Sep 23, 2016 10:38 AM

    magikskillz says:
    Sep 23, 2016 1:29 AM
    No surprise here. Roger Goodell and the rest of 345 Park Avenue do not believe in logic, science and many other things.


    Just like other millionaires and billionaires.

  38. wolfman55h says: Sep 23, 2016 11:00 AM

    You can’t just change already established rules in some kind of ‘My Bad’ scenario once season has begun. This isn’t throwing the football in the backyard during halftime of the Thanksgiving Day games. This is the NFL. My question is how didn’t they forsee this happening when change was proposed? Has anyone at the Park Avenue office even been to a game??

  39. patriots123456 says: Sep 23, 2016 11:08 AM

    Roger couldn’t even get the field ready for the hall of fame game that was cancelled.

    He only had a years preparation time available.

    Fire Goodell!

  40. orrnumberfour says: Sep 23, 2016 11:20 AM

    F I R E G O O D E L L

  41. dandeman19 says: Sep 26, 2016 11:06 AM

    Wow what a shock Goodell is a Republican. So you know he bows to the owners and doesn’t give a damn about the working guys. That explains deflategate. Since Goodell hates Coach B and the other owners hate the Pats winning they set up the sting

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