Terry McAulay: New kickoff rules “may be the biggest change” I’ve ever seen

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NFL officials will be in Dallas for a clinic this weekend and the work done to get them ready to call the league’s new rules regarding helmet use will be a major topic.

It’s not the only big rules change in store for the 2018 season, however. The league has also revised the rules for kickoffs to alter where players line up prior to the kick, eliminate wedge blocking and change when players on the return team are allowed to initiate blocks.

Former NFL referee Terry McAulay, who retired this offseason and took a rules analyst job with NBC, will attend the clinic and said that potential issues implementing the kickoff changes shouldn’t be downplayed.

“It isn’t getting as much press, but the kickoff change, this may be the biggest change I’ve ever seen,” McAulay said, via ESPN.com. “People know so little about it. There are so many restrictions on what either side of the ball can do. … I spoke with a special-teams coordinator who is excited about it, and I know we all feel it can be great for the game. But [officials] have to wait and see. There are a lot of intricate rules in terms of what [players] can and cannot do.”

The NFL preseason starts on August 2 when the Bears and Ravens face off in the Hall of Fame Game. That contest and the exhibition games to follow will provide the first hints about how the new-look kickoffs will be officiated this season.

13 responses to “Terry McAulay: New kickoff rules “may be the biggest change” I’ve ever seen

  1. Once BB figures out how to use the new rules to his advantage then Harbaugh, Tomlin and a few others will petition the league to change the rules once again….

  2. So the (former) ref says the biggest change is the kickoff rule, not the helmet contract rule.

    That kind of says it all when someone in the sport who enforced rule changes isn’t pulling a “Chicken Little” over an issue…

  3. .
    Anything that reduces the number of players ending up on IR is worth looking into. The game suffers when the league’s stars are out of action.
    .

  4. Totally Lame rule, it’s Football, if the players don’t like it and are afraid then don’t play!

  5. I notice he got in the talking points the NFL wants included to any story that may be viewed as evidence that these rules changes will negatively impact the quality of the game and the fans enjoyment.

    Notice anything said publicly about these rules changes which we as fans know will impact our enjoyment of the game, they always add “we all feel this will make the game more exciting” or something to that effect. Always added to keep us at bay.

    I do not like when they insult our intelligence and they throw this crap out there..ie rules changes to see just how much we will actually take before we stop paying for their ever inching closer to crap product.

  6. 6ball says:
    July 12, 2018 at 12:53 pm
    .
    Anything that reduces the number of players ending up on IR is worth looking into. The game suffers when the league’s stars are out of action.
    xxxxxxxx

    Not many star players are on special teams!

  7. .
    @dropkick

    The Patriots have always used starters on special teams, including captain Devon McCourty. The Steelers use Antonio Brown to return punts. The list could go on and on.
    .

  8. I bet you that all of these Ref’s are retiring because Goodell and the competition committee is making their job harder and harder while scrutiny of their calls is being increased exponentially.

  9. 6ball says:
    July 12, 2018 at 12:53 pm

    .
    Anything that reduces the number of players ending up on IR is worth looking into. The game suffers when the league’s stars are out of action.
    .

    ——

    Just how many “league stars” end up on IR due to kickoff team injuries? Not how many play special teams, not how many go on IR in general, but how many go out do to kickoff / kickoff return team participation? Here’s guessing those numbers can be counted on one hand.

  10. 6ball says:
    July 12, 2018 at 12:53 pm

    .
    Anything that reduces the number of players ending up on IR is worth looking into. The game suffers when the league’s stars are out of action.
    —————–

    How about flag football? Is that worth looking into?

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