The NFL wants more touchbacks, but has voted down a rule that would incentivize them.
The league today voted against a proposal that would give the kickoff team a five-yard bonus on touchbacks that go through the uprights, putting those touchbacks at the receiving team’s 20-yard line instead of the 25.
According to Mike Garafolo of NFL Network, the proposal got 11 votes. It needed 24 votes, or support from three-fourths of the teams, to pass.
The NFL has made clear that it’s concerned about injuries on kickoff returns and wants to cut down on them. The five-yard bonus rule would do just that, as it would incentivize teams to kick deep into the end zone for a touchback, rather than kick short and try to pin opponents inside the 20. So it’s logically inconsistent for the owners to vote the rule down.
But logical inconsistencies haven’t stopped the NFL before, and it hasn’t this time, either. There will be no benefits to touchbacks through the uprights, much to the disappointment of teams that have kickers with a big leg.