Jay Feely: It will be easy for NFL kickers to game the new touchback rule

AP

The NFL passed the new rule moving touchbacks after kickoffs to the 25-yard line in the hopes that receiving teams would be more likely to leave the ball in the end zone on kickoffs and therefore there would be fewer kickoff returns and fewer injuries. But that thinking comes with an assumption that the new rule will not change the way the kicking team approaches the kickoff.

Unfortunately for the NFL, more and more people in and around the league are coming forward to say that the new rule will significantly change the way the kicking team approaches the kickoff. In fact, many observers say there will be more kickoff returns this year than last year.

One such observer is longtime NFL kicker Jay Feely, who said today on PFT Live that he believes NFL kickers will aim for a high trajectory, with their kicks landing not in the end zone but between the goal line and the 5-yard line.

“It’s just a fallacy that that’s hard for an NFL kicker to do,” Feely said. “It’s not hard for them to adjust the height of the ball, it’s not hard for them to adjust the angle and where they’re kicking it, especially if they know, ‘I don’t have to kick it 10 yards deep, and now I can do a three-step approach and I can adjust my approach like a field goal approach. That’s not hard for an NFL kicker to do.”

The owners probably should have sought more input from kickers before voting to approve this new rule. From the sound of it, we’re going to have more kickoff returns this year.

28 responses to “Jay Feely: It will be easy for NFL kickers to game the new touchback rule

  1. It’s the NFL. They will privately adjust the air in the kicking balls to 20 PSI to make themselves look good. After all they are the smartest people on the planet if not the universe

  2. “The owners probably should have sought more input from kickers before voting to approve this new rule”

    Sure, that arrogant collection of swine that think of the fans as nothing more than cash generating sheep would listen to the players. Right.

  3. Well if kicker’s could this, than they already would have been doing it. Most kickers can’t get that high trajectory off a tee AND have accuracy. They’ll kick to about a little past the goal line and make the returner “think”…

  4. “The owners probably should have sought more input from kickers before voting to approve this new rule.”

    ^^^^^

    Hahahahaha. Why would they do that? The Owners + 345 Park Ave = smarter than every player and coach in the history of football. Hell, they are the first group of people to “prove” that temp doesn’t affect air pressure, LMFAO. Maybe next they will convince us that the Earth is larger than the Sun, or water is actually dry, and gravity is just a ploy to keep you from escaping earth to the freedom of space…

  5. So the NFL made changes to the rule without thinking through or truly understanding the consequences? Is anyone really shocked?

  6. The return game should be mandatory. That’s what bottom of the roster guys are for – they call them gunners for a reason, these guys are cannon fodder. It’s exciting. If MMA is legal, kicking ought to be a legal part of the game. Plenty of young guys who deserve some glory playing this facet of the game. Guess what? we all end up with dementia when we are old. Burn bright, burn fast. This is football not some kind of hipster safe space where we listen to jam poetry about…pant suited tax raisers.

  7. Ah, yes, the law of unintended consequences. When you set out in one direction, the reality is another.

    Bill Belichick’s idea is still the best: after the extra point attempt, move the ball to the 25 yard line and let the other team start. Only two kickoffs per game: 1st and 3rd quarter.

    Makes too much sense. That would cut down on kickoffs but instead you pass rules that actually encourage MORE kickoffs.

  8. much ado about nothing – kickers already try to pin teams deep and put good hang time on the ball to allow the gunners to get down field. That’s not a new strategy. I bet we won’t even notice the difference.

  9. Although the NFL monitored air pressure throughout the season last year, we never heard the results. In this case though there are many who will watch this statistic and we will know the outcome.

  10. …and since the ball is in the air longer and the covering team can close the gap quicker it will probably result in more injuries. Good job NFL. Keep changing rules that don’t need to be changed.

  11. ……it’s crazy…..the last few years several kickers have been cut because they can’t boom it into the endzone….now these so call ‘weak legged kickers will be in high demand. Welcome back Alex Henry !

  12. Simma down. This is just this year’s foundational change to the NFL rule book. If you aren’t used to it already… you will be.

    The game is imperfect, dangerous and not PC when filtered thru the prism of the unisex world we are allowing to propagate. Something has to give, and it will be our game.

    Back to MLB

  13. Well, duh, Feely.

    Even the Washington Redskins have come to that conclusion several weeks ago. They’ve been practicing exactly what you mention. So glad you finally discovered this.

  14. Even if a kicker could consistently loft the football and have it land somewhere around the five yard line, the receiving team can just let it bounce into the end zone if they want to. However, if the receiving team sees an opening, catches the ball somewhere around the ten or so, they could very well make it out past the 25 yard line, maybe go all the way.

  15. Just like tax laws. You shouldn’t assume people will simply do the same thing they did before. People change their behavior in response to new legislation. Congress never understands this, and neither does the NFL.

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