Proposed touchback change fails

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The 19 proposed rule changes for 2016 included a plan to move the touchback on a free kick from the 20 to the 25. Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the measure has failed to secure the requisite 24 votes to become a new rule.

As the source explained it, multiple teams feared that the rule would result not in fewer kick returns (as the Competition Committee envisioned) but more, with teams trying to put the ball in the field of play and make the tackle inside the 25.

Some believe that, if the NFL wants to reduce kickoff returns, the league should simply get rid of the kickoff altogether and put the ball at the 20.

For now, the kick return survives — and a touchback will continue to result in the game being placed at the 20.

34 responses to “Proposed touchback change fails

  1. No need to mess with this rule. Need to concentrate more on the “catch” rule…

  2. So the Competition Committee couldn’t see that this would actually make teams keep the kickoff in play?

    I would like to propose we replace the Competition Committee next year.

  3. “So the Competition Committee couldn’t see that this would actually make teams keep the kickoff in play?”

    No, they did, that’s the point of the article.

  4. Bad enough they moved the kick off spot but seriously. If they want to remove the kick off remove it already. That would kill a lot of the most exciting moments in a football game but who am I to stop the “progress”. Keep this up and we won’t be able to call it football anymore. It’s becoming a shell of what everyone grew up enjoying.

  5. you people blame Rodger, but he just doing his job which simply seems to be absorb the negative feelings of the general public from the ones actually making the decisions you now the owners

  6. Nice photo of the Titans executing one of their two kickoffs per game. Maybe that will change with the exotic smashmouth style Mularkey is so hot about.

  7. They don’t have to get rid of kickoffs. It’s mostly ceremonial now, but it could become a part of the fan experience. Let the Shriners come out in their Fezes and drive their little green buggies all over the field one week. The next week it could be battered women, or tranvestites who line up. Call it a nod to history.

  8. Thanks for the clarification jetsclaps.

    But my point is they just changed this rule to improve player safety and not have violent collisions on kickoffs.

    Then they go this route.

  9. All of y’all screaming about the rules changes and blaming the NFL, must not watch the news. These rules are all about lawsuits. If you want to blame someone go punch a lawyer.

  10. Oh yeah, I remember when football was football.

    When the Mike Websters and Junior Seau’s of the world eviscerated opponents with crushing blows to the head, only to create generations of ticking time bombs in those former gladiators. All for your glory as a paying fan.

    There is a way to balance aggressive, heads-up football with the gladiator feel the masses crave that protects the game and it’s players.

    How about we consider all sides of these rule changes within the game, how they balance risk/enjoyment/profit, and then come to some conclusions?

    I love the sport too, but not everything about its past is to be hailed or lauded.

    PS: I’ll get off your lawn now.

  11. “…multiple teams feared that the rule would result not in fewer kick returns (as the Competition Committee envisioned) but more, with teams trying to put the ball in the field of play and make the tackle inside the 25.”

    Or with kicking teams hoping for a muffed catch, resulting in a dangerous scrum for the ball.

  12. Geeze Louise…we go this rate at Rule changes we are going to soon be giving the players flags around the waste and say ‘This is the only way you can tackle’

  13. Exactly, with no onside kick, they might as well end the game at the 2 minute warning if a team is down by 9 or more points. I mean, why play a pointless 2 more minutes which would accomplish nothing more than risk player safety. What are they trying to do this league?

  14. Why don’t you make the kickoff team star with a STANDING START instead of running start at the kickoff? Are you people just stupid? Get rid of kickoffs and I get rid of the NFL. Your killing the sport.

  15. I’m teams don’t do that now – have the kicker get under it more. A higher kick with more coverage time, landing at the five or ten, could certainly be problematic for the return team. Unlike a punt, you don’t need blockers on the kickoff unit, and all defenders can go downfield immediately. Since it’s a live ball, they have to field it.

  16. I would replace the kickoffs and touchbacks with something completely different.

    The team, instead of kicking off, would get the ball at its own 30-yard line in a fourth-and-15 situation.

    The team would punt the ball away, or the team could go for it. If it failed to get a first down, the opposing squad would start with great field position. If the team made it, then the team gets a new set of 4 downs.

  17. edelmanfanclub says:
    Mar 22, 2016 5:08 PM

    Why so much change? Stop making a simple game so complex and screw Roger.

    The problem is potential NFL-destroying concussion litigation and Goodell is attempting to save the game by heading it off (see what I did there). Large settlements could result in pricing tickets and concessions beyond the reach of most fans. I’d sure hate to see the games become pay-per-view events.

  18. The NFLPA might hear complaints from all the players who are on a roster due to kickoff coverage and kick off special teams. Since not all punt coverage personnel is the same as kickoff personnel, if you eliminate the kickoff, those players will not make the roster.

    Not a lot, but every team has 1, or 2 players on their roster because they excel at special team kickoffs/coverage but not in another position such as WR.

  19. How many kickoffs (%) were returned last year? Out of the ones that were returned, how many were past the 20? 25? This will tell you if the rule change would have a material effect

  20. Here’s and idea. Take away the penalties for kicking out of bounds on the kick off.

    I may take away a lot of kick returns, but also may give better field position due to a bad kick, weather, what-have-you.

  21. The standing start kickoff (other than the kicker, obviously) actually seems like a very good idea. Without the ten yard head start, players won’t be able to get up to speed quite as quickly before encountering blockers. It will also encourage the kicking team to kick the ball out of the end zone, because when they don’t the return team will have an advantage.

    Making small changes to the game is not going to stop. As athletes get bigger, stronger and faster, and technology improves so that pads are lighter and make players feel safer, something needs to be done to reign things in so that the game can survive long term.

    It can continue to be a contest of strength, skill, strategy and execution without brains being scrambled, knees being ruined, and players having their lives shortened.

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