Despite the work stoppage heading into the first full week, the NFL Competition Committee is still planning to meet next week and review a bunch of rules including a change to kickoffs that would be bad news for the Bears.
As it stands today, teams kick off from the 30 yard line and if they successfully kick it deep enough into the end zone to force a player to down the ball, it comes out to the 20 yard line. The proposal under consideration is moving kickoffs back to the 35 yard line, but in the event of a touchback, having the ball come out to the 25 yard line.
The idea is that it will be easier for the kicking team to get the ball into the end zone, limiting chances for the return teams to bring the ball out. The Competition Committee is concerned over the number of injuries at occur on kickoffs. To that end, they’re also considering further changes to the rules about wedge blocking, now eliminating even 2-man wedges.
These rule changes would unfairly hamper teams like the Bears that excel in the return game. A kickoff return for a touchdown is one of the most exciting plays in football. Why does the competition committee want to take that away from us? Devin Hester has made a career in the return game. One of my favorite moments as a Bears fan was Hester’s TD return to open Super Bowl XLI. Can you imagine if the Colts had kicked off from the 35 and kicked it out of the endzone for a touchback?
If they’re so worried about injuries on kickoffs, why not just spot the ball on the 25-yard line after an opposing touchdown and save everyone from all that dangerous running, blocking and tackling? Better yet, why not just simulate the games on Madden and not risk any injuries at all?