The NFL has once again changed the kickoff.
NFL owners voted today to change the rules on kickoffs, with the following implemented for the 2018 season:
1. No running starts before the ball is kicked.
2. The kicking team must line up with five players on each side of the kicker.
3. At least two players on the kicking team must be outside the numbers.
4. At least two players on the kicking team must be between the numbers and the hashmarks.
5. At least eight players on the receiving team must be within 15 yards of their restraining line, which would typically mean between the kicking team’s 45-yard line and the receiving team’s 40-yard line.
6. Until the ball is touched or hits the ground, players on the receiving team can’t cross the restraining line (typically the 45), or initiate a block within 15 yards of the line where the ball is kicked.
7. No wedge blocks.
All of these rules are designed to limit the number of high-impact collisions on kickoffs, which the NFL says are the most dangerous players in football. Eventually the kickoff might be eliminated altogether. At least for this season, it is remaining in place bus changing significantly.