NFL Moves Kickoffs To 35 Yard Line, Increases Replay Usage


The NFL approved perhaps the most questionable of the new rules suggested by the competition committee today. Or at least part of it. At whatever point play resumes for the NFL, kickoffs will be moved to the 35 yard line, increasing the amount of touchbacks and making long returns more difficult. This was a compromise from the committee's original recommendation, which would have had touchbacks brought out to the 25 yard line, giving return teams even less incentive to try and return a kickoff. The committee also suggested doing away with the two man wedge block, a thing that doesn't even really exist. They did away with the three man wedge in 2009, and in reality two men can't form a 'wedge'. And if the suggested rule forbade two men from blocking for a returner together, what you're really demanding is that none of the ten men on the field blocking for the returner, can be near one another.

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The 'two-man wedge' is still legal, and touchbacks will continue to be brought out to the 20 yard line.

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This rule, as it is designed, is guaranteed to bring less action to the game. It hurts a number of teams, who have emphasized special team play, including the Chicago Bears, and return ace Devin Hester. Bears President Ted Phillips and Head Coach Lovie Smith, both spoke out against the rule.

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Another newly adopted rule expands instant replay so all scoring plays fall under the jurisdiction of the replay official. A cyncial observer might suggest that the time spent on these extra reviews, will allow broadcast partners more commercial time to sell.

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