Though it seemed like the proposal had plenty of opponents—including every special teams coach—the NFL owners passed a new controversial rule this week that will have a big impact on the game. Starting this season, any fair catch on a kickoff inside the 25-yard line will be moved out to the 25, regardless of it it was caught in the end zone or not.
The ostensible reasoning behind this decision is player safety; having special teams players run full speed down the length of the field at each other is certainly something that is more dangerous than the typical play. The change comes at a cost, though, and that reduction in strategic advantage is the biggest source of uproar.
Today’s Question of the Day is:
Do you approve of the new NFL kickoff rule?
My answer: There is no denying that this rule change will be felt from the very start of its implementation. Teams have been very intentional about trying to pin returners back just short of the end zone, but suddenly that tactic has zero advantage. Many (rightly) fear that this could be the beginning of the end for kickoffs altogether.
However — I do feel like there is a little bit of overreacting here. Fans of college football are no stranger to this rule, and honestly it has not really changed my viewing experience. Teams with good returners are still going to try to advance the ball, and while there are going to be fewer returns each game, I doubt the average starting field position will be materially affected. Maybe I am wrong, but I would need to see that actually happen before I got upset.
How do you feel about the new kickoff rule?
I love it!
This is the worst rule ever created!