NFL owners will vote on moving kickoffs to the 40

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Three years after the NFL moved kickoffs from the 30-yard line to the 35, it may be time to move kickoffs five yards forward again.

The Competition Committee announced today that owners will vote at next week’s league meeting on whether to move kickoffs again, this time to the 40-yard line.

According to the Competition Committee, this is a rule proposal designed to take player safety into consideration: Moving the kickoff will result in more touchbacks, fewer returns and therefore fewer collisions. The NFL in recent years has identified kickoffs as some of the most dangerous plays in the game of football.

The rule would also be viewed by many as a step toward de-emphasizing special teams. (Washington, which was terrible on special teams last year, was the team that proposed the rule change.) Eventually, if the NFL keeps moving kickoffs forward, it will make touchbacks so easy that it might as well just eliminate kickoffs entirely.

It’s not clear how much support the proposal has, but if 24 of the 32 owners are in favor of it, the rule will pass. And we’ll see a lot fewer kickoff returns next year.