Blog Entry

The real impact of new kickoff rules

Posted on: March 17, 2011 9:59 am
 
Posted by Andy Benoit

At first blush, the NFL Competition Committee’s proposal to move kickoffs to the 35-yard-line and have touD. Hester (US Presswire)chbacks put the ball on the 25-yard line seems like an effort to decrease the number of kick returns altogether. After all, touchbacks would be both easier to obtain and more rewarding.

But “more touchbacks” is not what the Competition Committee is going for here – at least not first and foremost. The touchback narrowly beats out the fair catch as the most boring play in football. From an entertainment standpoint, it’s hard to actively increase them considering that television now sandwiches kickoffs between two sets of commercial breaks. A commercial-touchback-commercial sequence equals roughly six minutes without any action. If fans were willing to tolerate long periods of inaction, soccer would be on network television more often than once every four years.

What the Competition Committee is really aiming for here are safer kick returns. If they wanted more touchbacks, they’d simply move the kickoff up to the 35-yard-line and leave touchbacks at the 20. But having touchbacks go to the 25 is an incentive for kickers to NOT boot the ball through the end zone.

Instead, what kickers would try to do is boot the ball high and force return men to catch it somewhere near the 10-yard line. Why here? Because with a hanging ball, the kickoff coverage unit, which now lines up at the 35, will have time to get downfield and be bearing down on the returner (somewhat) when he catches it. Kicking the ball to the goal-line would still give the returner enough space to scan the field and pick up speed. But kicking it to the 10? That puts some pressure on.

In short, kick returns would become more like punt returns. A shorter field means less speed and momentum from the players involved. Impact collisions at high speed are what’s most dangerous in football.

Possible rule changes

Obviously, the incentive for a return guy to kneel the ball in the end zone is greater, too. So this proposed rule change is the best of both worlds, really. If kickoff units want to force a return, they now have a reason to kick the ball short. If they’re willing to settle for a touchback, the return team will likely oblige.

One final note: this rule change could also lead to more onside kicks. The greatest deterrent to onside kicking is the risk of giving your opponent the ball on the cusp of field goal range. But if the ball must now reach the 45-yard line instead of the 40, failed onside kicks would no longer leave your opponent in automatic three-point territory. An offense that begins a drive at the 45 has to at least pick up a first down in order to attempt a field goal under 49 yards; that’s not the case when drives begin at the 40.

Expect this kickoff rule change to pass. It promotes safety while forcing teams to update their strategy.

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Category: NFL
Comments

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: January 9, 2012 2:42 pm
 

The real impact of new kickoff rules

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
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The real impact of new kickoff rules

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The real impact of new kickoff rules

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Since: Dec 3, 2010
Posted on: March 18, 2011 11:42 am
 

The real impact of new kickoff rules

I don't get how hanging the ball up short and lessening the persuit by 5 yards will make for less obtainable speed and violent hits (blocking) in this new rule.  Kickers will be padding their stats of touchbacks. Allowing teams to start at their 25 yard line or less has been the goal of most coverage teams since the kick-off was pushed back to the 30.
 All I see is more TV revenue generated by the quicken stoppages during a 3-hour game.  That additional minute or so of football that was being played will now be replaced with an additional 2 or 3 30-second commercials!  I'm sure guys that make teams almost solely because of their special team abilities will be looking for work soon. The others will be quite happy with this change as probably the most violent of football is played during possion changes. 
What the NFL tells the media, "we're promoting safety towards our players and looking out for their well being"What the NFL actually means, "we can make x-amount of additional revenue and come out looking like heroes."



Since: Mar 17, 2011
Posted on: March 17, 2011 11:22 am
 

The real impact of new kickoff rules

..."If fans were willing to tolerate long periods of inaction, soccer would be on network television more often than once every four years"

Why do you have to inject your ignorance of soccer into a fine article about this new rule? UEFA Champions League soccer in being played out right now in Europe. No one that is watching soccer at its highest levels in England, Spain, Italy or the rest of Europe is having to "tolerate long periods of inaction". Actually, the games are played in two 45 minute halves, WITH NO COMMERCIALS OR TIME OUTS, except for infrequent injuries! 



Since: Aug 19, 2006
Posted on: March 17, 2011 11:04 am
 

The real impact of new kickoff rules

Who cares about kickoff rules.  The NFL is killing itself.<br /> <br /> FANS SHOULD GO ON STRIKE  DEMONSTRATE YOUR SPENDING POWER AS THE PEOPLE AND BOYCOTT THESE MILLIONAIRES AND BILLIONAIRES<br />



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