NFL Totally Blows it With New Kickoff Rule

The running joke is that NFL stands for No Fun League and with the latest rule change regarding kickoffs, that name rings true.  We talked about this last week and our fears have come to fruition.  The NFL’s Competition Committee passed a new rule regarding kickoffs that will move the kickoff up from the 30 to the 35 yard line, effectively wiping out a majority of kickoff returns and creating a hell of a lot more touchbacks.  BO-RING!

After the season where Devin Hester broke the all-time return record, I guess the other team figured the only way to stop him is to not give him nearly as many opportunities.

The rule being invoked in the name of player safety is a total sham.  You know what’s safer than football?  Tennis.   I suppose the next step is to eliminate that ever-dangerous forward pass because there’s a higher chance of getting an ouchie after you catch a ball.

The NFL was the Roman Empire at the height of popularity in 2010.  They were virtually unchallenged as the most popular sport going.  Fast forward to 2011.  A labor situation pitting the millionaire players against the billionaire owners and alienating the fans who scrape their hard-earned money together to pay these idiots.  Add some lame rule changes like this kickoff rule and before you know it, Roger Goodell will be playing a fiddle while his league burns to the ground around him.


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  • DeCon

    Boom…the NFL clearly screwed up with this…if they were going to do this and REALLY cared about limiting injuries, they would require both kickoff (except for the kicker) and return teams to remain stationary until the ball is kicked. Currently the kicking team can still start from 5 yards back and the return team has always moved back just prior to kickoff.

    The reason there are injuries is because of the force of the collisions…you are the physics guy, but if we eliminated the running headstarts, I think it would actually reduce (to some degree) the force of the contact by the players involved. Then, you could potentially be in a situation where you move the kickoff up, but because players start more flat footed, you could actually have more big returns AND reduced injuries…

    The bottom line remains, the NFL screwed up by changning anything, but if they were really concerned with player safety, I think my proposal makes even more sense. Have at it Dr. Physics!!!


    • Boomer

      I heard an interesting take on this on the radio this morning. Basically the caller said that the return and coverage teams will go about their usual business of turning themselves into human torpedoes when the ball is kicked because they won’t know initially if the ball will go deep enough for a touchback or if the returner will try to bring it out. From that standpoint, you’re not helping player safety at all.

      As far as the running head start goes, you’re absolutely right Decon. I think if they wanted to protect the players, they wouldn’t give them a running head start.

      If they were really concerned about player safety, they could get rid of artificial turf everywhere and make teams play on nice, soft grass.

      There’s been a lot of speculation about how kicking teams will now try to pop the ball up higher rather than deeper, so returners will be tempted to field the kicks. It could make for some dangerous situations.

      Other unintended consequences include how this will affect overtime strategy (in particular the playoff OT format) and onside kicks.

  • Phil

    Yep, they screwed this one up and in hypocritical fashion. “For safety purposes”, but if they chould get an 18 game schedule today, THEY WOULD TAKE IT!!!!

    Boom, they are also planning a vote on not allowing anyone to touch a QB during the throwing motion. WTF? Why don’t they just make the defense stand there and count to 5-Mississipi before rushing or moving from there postions. And why they are at it, quit keeping score and give everyone medals and ribbons.

    • Boomer


      You’re totally right about the 18 games and a lot of people speculate that this rule change was made to help grease the skids for the 18-game schedule, allowing owners to say how much they care about player safety.

      As far as the rule regarding defenseless players, I believe that it’s been tabled.

      Steve Rosenbloom has an interesting take on the rule changes, basically saying that the Bears don’t have any juice with other owners because they couldn’t get the votes to block the rule change while the Steelers were able to use their influence to push off the defenseless player rules. Here’s a link:

      My favorite line comes at the end – Fredo McCaskey.

  • deron

    This change will alter the game drastically, just like it did ’94. It won’t even necessarily reduce collisions more than the status quo.

  • Mr. Pickles

    I don’t know if there are any other Stern fans on here but he referenced this the other day and even he thinks this is a ridiculous change. If Howard friggin Stern thinks an NFL rule change is unmanly you can pretty much be guaranteed you got it wrong.

    You know what would improve player health? Better healthcare. Which (and correct me if I am wrong) was a concession the owners weren’t very willing to grant prior to the lockout. I also find it laughable that there are no new rules about demolishing a defenseless player but kickoffs have got to be changed. I will admit that this next thought is getting a bit into the realm of conspiracy theory but I really think this is a superficial move by the owners to appear concerned about player safety without having to really give anything up, and maybe get their 18 game schedule too.