Sean Payton skeptical of NFL’s new touchback rule

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The NFL implemented the new rule moving touchbacks after kickoffs to the 25-yard line in the hopes that it would result in fewer kick returns and therefore fewer injuries. Saints coach Sean Payton expects it to have the opposite effect.

“I think — this is me — the rule change is actually going to work in the opposite manner of the intention,” Payton said, via Josh Katzenstein of NOLA.com. “We’re going to have more kickoff returns because I think most teams feel like you can cover a kick inside 25 yards. . . . I just don’t think it’s going to turn out the way it was intended to, and I think there are other ways to make that play safer.”

That’s a popular opinion: Several NFL coaches and kickers have opined since the new rule was implemented that the best strategy on kickoffs will be to kick the ball high and try to land it somewhere between the goal line and the 5-yard line, then tackle the returner before he gets to the 25.

The NFL’s goal is fewer kickoff returns. It won’t be surprising if this year we see more kickoff returns, and next year the NFL tweaks the rule again.

42 responses to “Sean Payton skeptical of NFL’s new touchback rule

  1. Payton and the other coaches and kickers who believe this are smart football people. The league is run by corrupt buffoons. Of course this is another stupid new rule. Nothing new here.

  2. “I think — this is me — the rule change is actually going to work in the opposite manner of the intention,”

    It’s not just you Sean. Everyone outside of 345 Park Ave thinks the same thing

  3. He’s right.
    I understand the intention of the new rule, and it’s coming from the right place- player safety.
    But if a coach believes in his kickoff coverage unit and thinks he can get a guy down on a return before they reach the 25? That’s common sense to not boot it out of the end zone.
    The rule is a good idea, but poorly executed. They have to think of a better way- maybe instead of bringing the touchbacks out to the 25, moving the kickoffs further up?
    Or maybe, just maybe, the old way was the way it was for a reason.

  4. I tend to agree with Sean Payton. I’d also say we will see more balls going out of bounds, as receiving teams hope to let the ball go into the end zone. Which will also equate to more touches going off the receiving team, giving the kicking team a chance to recover the ball. ALL of this amounts to more contact.

  5. So your saying the league office lawyers who never played a snap of football in their lives and came up with this rule don’t know what their doing coach???

    Sounds like someone wants to take another year off courtesy of ole roge and co…

  6. This rule has zero to do with player safety, which the league has made clear through its actions they only care about if they can get sued by the players.

    What is has everything to do with is parity.

    The consistently better teams have consistently better special teams and special teams coaching.

    The consistently bad teams have consistently bad special teams and special teams coaching.

    This is all about parity.

    By getting rid of kickoffs and even this smaller step the league eliminates a significant portion of special teams plays, and therefore reduces the gap the consistently good teams have over the consistently bad ones.

    Essentially they want to reward the bad teams for being lousy and make them more competitive through artificial means of changing the rules.

    Goodell and his cronies are vile and must go.

  7. The rules committee is chaired by McKay of the Falcons (back in the chair after being suspended for cheating!), but is co-chaired by Jeff Fischer (who’s often dirty-play teams helped him to .500!), and has that other coaching talent “Starvin” Marvin Lewis (well, he’s getting very hungry for success), and Tripper Tomlin (cheat, liar, false-accuser and crybaby) as the total coaching “expertise”.

    That’s half the entire committee! What a joke! Get rid of them for a start.

  8. The NFL needs to stop. Is this even football anymore? Just have a seperate flag football league for those scared of injury during a contact sport.

  9. The kickoff return was essentially killed years ago with the blocking rules and moving the kickoff spot. Now they are going in for the kill shot before they remove it completely.

  10. harrisonhits2 says:
    Aug 1, 2016 9:18 AM
    This rule has zero to do with player safety, which the league has made clear through its actions they only care about if they can get sued by the players.

    What is has everything to do with is parity.

    The consistently better teams have consistently better special teams and special teams coaching.

    The consistently bad teams have consistently bad special teams and special teams coaching.

    This is all about parity.

    By getting rid of kickoffs and even this smaller step the league eliminates a significant portion of special teams plays, and therefore reduces the gap the consistently good teams have over the consistently bad ones.

    Essentially they want to reward the bad teams for being lousy and make them more competitive through artificial means of changing the rules.

    Goodell and his cronies are vile and must go

    We know. We get it. EVERY rule (besides the tuck rule of course) is designed to hurt the pats.

  11. want to stop kickoff returns? simple – give the team 1 point for a kickoff that goes through the uprights.

  12. What they need to do is get rid of the rule that it is a penalty if a kickoff goes out of bounds.

  13. I’ve never understood why the NFL is so against testing these things out. They could have taken a preseason (or 2 or 2 for that matter) and tested this out to see what the outcome would be. Instead, it becomes the rule for real games with zero effort to see what will actually happen.

  14. You idiots do know that these rules have to be approved by the owners right? You do know that Goodell is the whipping boy for the owners? What’s funny is you “fans” eat this up and love to blame Goodell which is what the owners want you to do. As long as you keep lining their pockets with record profits each year, the owners don’t care about you “fans.”

  15. This is so obvious it’s stunning. Even for a league that has shown unbelievable ineptitude in virtually every thing it does other than print money, this is a new low.

    They have made the play far more dangerous. Now, a kick returner will be forced to field kickoffs between the goal line and the 10 yard line that have been kicked very high. That means that the reaction time between when he catches the ball and when the defenders arrive will be milliseconds. This will certainly not make the game safer.

  16. I believe the owners want to get rid of the kickoff because they are losing too many quality players on that one play. In addition, the CTE lawsuit plays in that as well. You ask, “why then have a touchback at the 25 when we know more teams will kick for return instead of a touchback?” Good question, but, the owners want bad things to happen when they do this so they have the leverage to completely eliminate kicks. As it stood, most teams just kick a touchback or take a knee, now there will be more kickoff returns, more injuries, more problems and the owners can then point to that and say they need to get rid of the kickoff. This way they are giving in to player and fan pressure instead of being the people driving the change.

  17. The league has got the right idea this time. Actually, they should move the touchback line to the 40. Billy “White Shoes” Johnson here we come!

  18. superpatriotsfan says:
    Aug 1, 2016 11:22 AM

    You idiots do know that these rules have to be approved by the owners right? You do know that Goodell is the whipping boy for the owners? What’s funny is you “fans” eat this up and love to blame Goodell which is what the owners want you to do.
    ———————————–

    So you say that Goodell is the whipping boy for the owners, and then you start crying when everyone is whipping Goodell?

    Make up your mind, bozo.

  19. xinellum says:
    Aug 1, 2016 11:43 AM

    I believe the owners want to get rid of the kickoff because they are losing too many quality players on that one play.
    ——————

    Name the last player that suffered a severe injury on the kickoff return.

    I’d be willing to bet that punts are a more “dangerous” play than kickoffs are.

  20. The owners, who ultimately give the approval on all rule changes aren’t stupid. Maybe they actually intend this rule to create more returns on kickoffs but only under the perceived idea that it’s for “player safety”. They don’t do anything without analyzing it to the Nth degree. They surely know this rule will create more runbacks as well as more points per game.

  21. Eventually the kickoff will become a play similar to a set piece in soccer.

    The returner will be handed the ball 5 yards deep in the endzone. Defenders will be stationed at varied points on the field and will be marked by blockers stationed next to them so collisions are less violent. A whistle will blow and the returner will start his journey up field. Two seconds later a second whistle will blow and defenders will start trying to beat their marking blockers and tackle the ball carrier.

    ….then we can all puke.

  22. With all of those who say “It’s not football anymore” because of all the safety initiatives being implemented…, bottom line, if the NFL doesn’t do the things necessary to continually “tweak” the game in an effort to make it safer, there won’t be an NFL.

    We’re not just talking about busted up knees and torn biceps, we’re talking people’s brains being scrambled to the point where they can’t remember basics and going through life at a significantly reduced level of functionality because of the violent collisions that our skulls were never meant to endure, millions or no millions.

  23. patriotsticketssince1978 says:
    Aug 1, 2016 12:02 PM

    Eventually the kickoff will become a play similar to a set piece in soccer.

    The returner will be handed the ball 5 yards deep in the endzone. Defenders will be stationed at varied points on the field and will be marked by blockers stationed next to them so collisions are less violent. A whistle will blow and the returner will start his journey up field. Two seconds later a second whistle will blow and defenders will start trying to beat their marking blockers and tackle the ball carrier.
    ————————-

    This… actually sounds pretty intriguing.

  24. Aug 1, 2016 8:26 AM – bucsorbust says: … I’d also say we will see more balls going out of bounds, as receiving teams hope to let the ball go into the end zone. Which will also equate to more touches going off the receiving team…

    They wouldn’t dare let it take an unpredictable bounce. It’s a live ball, and with a high kick, the coverage team will be right on top of it.

  25. Mind you, my idea is really really stupid and boring and takes away the excitement of kick returns – which can be amazingly exciting plays, BUT if you want to guarantee no returns, give the receiving team an option. Receive a kick based on existing rules, or put the ball on the 25. The conservative nature of head coaches will almost guarantee they take the sure thing on the 25 rather than risk a return inside the 25 – or worse – a fumble. I don’t like that idea one bit, but if that’s what the NFL is trying to do, do it, They’re just not smart enough to come up with the rule they really want.

  26. mmack66 says:
    Aug 1, 2016 10:56 AM

    What they need to do is get rid of the rule that it is a penalty if a kickoff goes out of bounds.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++
    ” I AGREE!!!!!!”
    John Kasay

  27. goodguyattorney says:
    Aug 1, 2016 1:07 PM

    Mind you, my idea is really really stupid and boring and takes away the excitement of kick returns – which can be amazingly exciting plays, BUT if you want to guarantee no returns, give the receiving team an option. Receive a kick based on existing rules, or put the ball on the 25.
    —————————-

    Why penalize the kicking team 5 yards? If you are actually worried about player safety, and honestly believe that the kickoff is the most dangerous play of the game, just put the ball on the 20-yard line and be done with it.

    Of course, then the NFL will have to figure out how to sandwich a couple of commercials around the ball placement.

  28. Wait. The ball is kicked two yards into the end zone, it makes no difference what the defense does or wants to do or thinks.

    The receiving team will, by team rule, take s knee, take the 25 yard placement, no collisions. Am I missing something here?

  29. If it is player safety they are concerned about, just eliminate the kick and place the ball on a designated yard line.

  30. Or don’t let people get a running start at the kick. They should start running downfield when the ball is kicked…not before.

  31. Here’s how to fix Kickoff’s:

    Offense and Defense line up at the receiving team’s 20 yard line. Kicker and return man line up as usual. O-Line and D-Line don’t move until the ball touches the return man or the ground.

    No high-speed collisions, Kickoffs remain relevant to the game.

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