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View Full Version : NFL moves kickoff line from 30-yard line to 35


Showtime100
03-22-2011, 05:42 PM
....and is met with harsh criticism from......everybody.

LINK (http://content.usatoday.com/communities/thehuddle/post/2011/03/nfl-moves-kickoff-line-from-35-yard-line-to-30/1)

NFL owners approved a modification in the kickoff rules on Tuesday, but a less drastic change than the plan the competition committee had proposed last week.

Owners gave their OK to move the kickoff line from the 30-yard line to the 35-yard line. But they made no change to the spot of the ball on touchbacks, which the competition committee originally proposed moving from the 20-yard line to the 25.

The move should benefit kickoff teams and could penalize kick-return teams. The extra five yards will make it easier for kickers to register touchbacks.

Competition committee chairman Rich McKay said he expects the percentage of touchbacks to increase anywhere from 5%-15% next season.

For prolific returners such as the New York Jets' Brad Smith and the Chicago Bears' Devin Hester -- who spoke out against the change earlier this week -- the new rule could limit their effectiveness.

No change was made to the wedge rule, which will allow teams to have two men line up in wedges for blocking on kick returns.

But the NFL will now mandate that members of the kickoff team line up no more than five yards behind the 35-yard line. That eliminates the running start many kickoff team members could get in the past.

McKay said he considered that the most significant change, in the interest of player safety.

"When you shorten that run ... hopefully that changes the (injury) numbers," he said. "We think it will."

Other rules issues the owners considered on Tuesday:

Replay: All scoring plays will trigger automatic replay review from the booth now. Coaches will not need to throw their challenge flags on such plays.

"The ball will be held by umpire until he gets signal that play is confirmed," McKay said.

Guidelines will be given to replay officials, who will be expected to confirm the play quickly or ask the referee to review.

Turf color: The league banned any changes to the color of teams' stadium turf. All turf must be a shade of green, and any changes -- to a Boise State-like blue, for example -- would have to be approved by the NFL.

Player safety: Owners declined to act on a competition committee recommendation to expand the definition of defenseless player. They may consider the issue at their May meetings.

/end of article


This could change how some roster spots are evaluated. I'm all for safety, but this is shooting the wrong fish in the barrel. JMO.

rmartin65
03-22-2011, 05:43 PM
Returners just became a lot less valuable. Touchbacks will become very prevalent, making special teams fairly boring.

disaacks3
03-22-2011, 05:46 PM
"When you shorten that run ... hopefully that changes the (injury) numbers," he said. "We think it will." Do they think it takes an NFL player 50 yds to 'get up to speed'?

Prepare for touchback land...zzzzzzz

CloakNNNdagger
03-22-2011, 08:37 PM
I'm waiting for the league to figure out that the most effective way to decrease injuries by half is to make each quarter 7.5 minutes..........and have twice as much revenues come :kitten:through twice as many filler commercials........KaChing!!!

Texan_Bill
03-22-2011, 08:45 PM
WOW!!

This is such BS!!! Anyone over 30 years old remembers when they used to kick-off from the 35. HS was the 40.... Some people *cough* BSPN *cough* take things way too seriously!!!

Unbelievable!!! :gun:

mattieuk
03-22-2011, 08:49 PM
Booo! Even Chad Ochocinco could kick touchbacks from the 35!

Boring!

CloakNNNdagger
03-22-2011, 08:51 PM
WOW!!

This is such BS!!! Anyone over 30 years old remembers when they used to kick-off from the 35. HS was the 40.... Some people *cough* BSPN *cough* take things way too seriously!!!

Unbelievable!!! :gun:

.......and they shortened the height of the tee to try to keep the ball on the ground and in play. Here's an interesting 1999 SI article about changing the touchback rules (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/football/nfl/news/1999/03/13/kickoff_proposal/).

gwallaia
03-22-2011, 09:14 PM
This may encourage kickers to shorten the kicks some. Drop the ball around the 5 yd line and then when the 5 yard headstart, pin the other team inside the 20.

texanhead08
03-22-2011, 09:48 PM
Kickoffs were from the 35 for friggin 50yrs and noone knew the difference. The players are just bitching about this just to be bitching. If you are a badass you should be able to run it back no matter where they kick the ball.

CloakNNNdagger
03-22-2011, 10:12 PM
You want to make the return game more exciting?.........take the touch back to the 15 yd line.

Joe Texan
03-22-2011, 10:16 PM
Well it is better than vista isn't it. Maybe it will make the kicker more valuable

Trap_Star
03-22-2011, 10:38 PM
they should look into banning tackling...guys are getting hurt.

Texan_Bill
03-22-2011, 10:41 PM
.......and they shortened the height of the tee to try to keep the ball on the ground and in play. Here's an interesting 1999 SI article about changing the touchback rules (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/football/nfl/news/1999/03/13/kickoff_proposal/).

That was a good read, Doc!! Thanks for sharing!

eriadoc
03-22-2011, 11:14 PM
This is a good change, and the thing that no one seems to be touching upon is how this ties into the overtime rules changes. I have been against the OT rules changes because it just continues down the path of runaway offense and catering to the offense. Not so much that the offense has to score more in OT now, but the acceptance that the offense should somehow be entitled to touch the ball, or that it should even matter. If the NFL truly wanted a sport where both sides of the ball were important, they'd maintain that balance. Instead, they've steadily let offenses creep ahead since the late '70s. The OT rule was just another step along that paradigm, IMO.

However, this rule is a step back in the right direction. When we had the discussion about the new OT rules, this statistical analysis (http://www.maa.org/mathland/mathtrek_11_08_04.html) was linked, which had some interesting facts within. One of them:

Interestingly, the cumulative data hide the effect of a rule change that occurred in 1994, when kickoffs were moved back 5 yards to the 30-yard line. Since 1994, nearly one-third of overtime games have been won on the first possession by the team that received the ball first. In the first 20 seasons, under the old rule, slightly more than one-quarter of the games were won in this fashion.

A recent analysis by economist Richard E. Hawkins of Pennsylvania State University in DuBois confirms that these differences are statistically significant.

"The analysis finds with 99.99 % certainty that the [coin] flip has made a difference in the outcome of the game over the last 10 years," he concludes. "But for the period prior to those 10 years, the coin flip cannot be shown to be important."

So basically, they're undoing the rule change which really necessitated the OT rule change. But we're still getting stuck with the OT rule change. The logical change to the OT problem would have been to roll back this kickoff position change of 1994, but instead they implemented the OT rule we now have. And now they've changed the kickoff position back to pre-1994 placement. Go figure.

HoustonFrog
03-23-2011, 09:58 AM
My guy Kerley from TCU might lose some stock since he is a really nice slot WR but also a top KR/PR. Sucks for him. I hate this. The return game is a big part of the game. Touchbacks will be plentiful now. As an ex-kicker I know most guys can get it to the endzone. 5 yards puts you deeper in and less likely to run out obviously. The only thing I can see teams maybe doing is employing the kicker to angle more towards the corner to force their hand. We did this in High School but they also didn't have rules that brought out so far so angling had no real penalty.

eriadoc
03-23-2011, 10:22 AM
I hate this. The return game is a big part of the game. Touchbacks will be plentiful now.

Some of the best kick returners came before the 1994 rule that changed things - Eric Metcalf, Brian Mitchell (still holds a couple records, I believe), Mel Gray, Gale Sayers, and let's not forget our favorite of all time: Billy "White Shoes" Johnson.

The return game will be fine. This is just a rule change putting things back to the way they were. I'm pretty sure if Devin Hester had been around before 1994, he still would have been awesome at returning kicks.

HoustonFrog
03-23-2011, 10:27 AM
Some of the best kick returners came before the 1994 rule that changed things - Eric Metcalf, Brian Mitchell (still holds a couple records, I believe), Mel Gray, Gale Sayers, and let's not forget our favorite of all time: Billy "White Shoes" Johnson.

The return game will be fine. This is just a rule change putting things back to the way they were. I'm pretty sure if Devin Hester had been around before 1994, he still would have been awesome at returning kicks.

True but I also think kickers have bigger legs now..we are in a time of specialists where you have a guy that is accurate for FGs and a guy who can rip it through the end zone. Back then many kickers were still little guys who weren't working out and who were more FG specialists. I think it is a large difference.

El Tejano
03-23-2011, 10:45 AM
So does this rule do away with the two man wedge or something like that which was changed a few years back?

eriadoc
03-23-2011, 10:49 AM
True but I also think kickers have bigger legs now..we are in a time of specialists where you have a guy that is accurate for FGs and a guy who can rip it through the end zone. Back then many kickers were still little guys who weren't working out and who were more FG specialists. I think it is a large difference.

Returners are no longer really just that 5th WR or CB that can't get on the field, either. They're faster, have greater access to fitness techniques and nutrition, and the philosophy of the team has changed to recognize that a returner is an integral part of the game plan. I think it's a wash.

The wedge rule has a far greater impact on kick returns, IMO.

disaacks3
03-23-2011, 11:11 AM
So does this rule do away with the two man wedge or something like that which was changed a few years back?

Nope the TWO-man wedge is still allowed.

CloakNNNdagger
03-23-2011, 11:16 AM
Nope the TWO-man wedge is still allowed.

Can someone please explain to me how you can form a wedge with two men???:kitten:

eriadoc
03-23-2011, 11:19 AM
Can someone please explain to me how you can form a wedge with two men???:kitten:

Wonder Twin powers, activate!

disaacks3
03-23-2011, 11:21 AM
Can someone please explain to me how you can form a wedge with two men???:kitten: Well, they do look kind of cute when they're holding hands! http://images.chron.com/photos/2009/08/12/17862975/600xPopupGallery.jpg

eriadoc
03-23-2011, 11:33 AM
I don't totally agree with this guy's list, but he raises some very valid points and makes a few very strong arguments. And he has White Shoes ranked #3 all time, which I like.

LINK (http://www.sports-central.org/sports/2011/02/22/the_best_kick_returners_in_nfl_history.php)

3. Billy "White Shoes" Johnson

1974-88, Houston Oilers, Atlanta Falcons, Washington Redskins
123 KR, 2,941 yards, 23.91 average, 2 TD
282 PR, 3,317 yards, 11.76 average, 6 TD

I didn't expect Johnson to rank so high. He was a legend, a showman, a flashy player who captured the public's imagination. You almost expect such players to be overrated. Johnson, to my surprise, is not overrated.

He makes this list primarily as a punt returner, but start with kickoffs, which he only did from 1974-77. In those four seasons, Johnson scored two KR TDs and was well above the league average of 21.9. He was a very good kickoff returner. As a punt returner, though, he was something more than good. He was a legend in his own time. Part of that is that is the nickname, and a lot of it is the end zone celebration, but mostly, it's 6 PR TDs and a 13.73 average before his knee injury.

Johnson's punt return numbers before the injury are mind-blowing: 143 PR, 1,963 yds, 13.7 avg, 5 TDs. If the injury had ended his career, Johnson would have by far the highest punt return average in history, almost a full yard ahead of George McAfee (12.78). It almost did end his career. He barely played in '79 and '80, spent '81 in the CFL. He made it back to the NFL and played seven more years, even made the Pro Bowl in 1983, but he was just a good returner, not a true standout any more.

Speedy
03-23-2011, 05:26 PM
Shouldn't this be a positive for the Texans? They get to start at the 20 yard line. Got to be better than what they got out of Slaton last year. Special teams improvement already!!!!!

Rey
03-23-2011, 07:14 PM
Rackers was on the radio yesterday and he didn't seem too enthusiastic about the rule change...

They played a snippet from Cribbs and he wasn't pleased with the rule at all...

Rackers said he thought the NFL was spinning their wheels because if a Kick is returned defenders will still have a full head of steam...He said that he expects to see a large increase in Touchbacks...He said that this past year some kicker (don't recall who it was) set a record for TB's...He said that kickers have become better conditioned, their technique has gotten better and they are kicking the ball further than they ever have...He also said he doesn't expect to see guys hanging the ball in the air to pin guys inside the five...He said that most coaches will most likely go with the safer scenario and just have guys boot it out of the EZ...

Cribbs didn't like it because he said that he built his career of of returns...He said that this will greatly reduce role and the amount of chances for kick returners to shine...

CloakNNNdagger
03-23-2011, 08:35 PM
Came across this older very informative piece that gives an evolutionary history of when the WEDGE was born to its contemporary death.

An ode to the 'wedge' on the eve of its demise (http://rivals.yahoo.com/ncaa/football/blog/dr_saturday/post/An-ode-to-the-wedge-on-the-eve-of-its-demise?urn=ncaaf-234780)

http://a323.yahoofs.com/ymg/ept_sports_ncaaf_experts__34/ept_sports_ncaaf_experts-642024916-1271442463.jpg?ymfAk_CDEmpmv.Z7

HoustonFrog
03-23-2011, 10:05 PM
Rackers was on the radio yesterday and he didn't seem too enthusiastic about the rule change...

They played a snippet from Cribbs and he wasn't pleased with the rule at all...

Rackers said he thought the NFL was spinning their wheels because if a Kick is returned defenders will still have a full head of steam...He said that he expects to see a large increase in Touchbacks...He said that this past year some kicker (don't recall who it was) set a record for TB's...He said that kickers have become better conditioned, their technique has gotten better and they are kicking the ball further than they ever have...He also said he doesn't expect to see guys hanging the ball in the air to pin guys inside the five...He said that most coaches will most likely go with the safer scenario and just have guys boot it out of the EZ...
Cribbs didn't like it because he said that he built his career of of returns...He said that this will greatly reduce role and the amount of chances for kick returners to shine...

Exactly what I said Page 1. This isn't little the old days of little guys who aren't too athletic. The league has some yoked up kickers who tackle and work out and with stretching can kick deep. You can't compare returns from 2 decades back to now. Even the weakest guys were hitting the goalline. 5 yards is mid endzone and many guys kneel on that.

infantrycak
03-24-2011, 01:27 PM
From PFT.com:

With the help of our friends at the Elias Sports Bureau, we tracked down some numbers regarding the impact the last time the change was made. Specifically, we looked at the five years before the move of the kickoff from the 35 to the 30 (1989 through 1993) and the five years after the move (1994 to 1998).

For starters, the number of touchbacks per game dropped from 1.8 to 1.1. For a 256-game season, that equates to 179 more touchbacks — and thus 179 fewer kick returns.

From 1989 through 1993, the league saw 33 touchdowns on kickoff returns. In the five years after the change, the number doubled.

In 1993, the last year of the ball being kicked off from the 35, 27.1 percent of all kicks were touchbacks. In 2010, the last year of the ball being kicked off from the 30, 16.1 percent of all kicks were touchbacks.

One would think with superior kickers now the numbers might be even more stark on the drop off.

Texan_Bill
03-24-2011, 01:54 PM
Mad "30 yard line on a mobile" just called into 1560 and he was pissed!!


Someone then suggested that he go visit Charlie Sheen since he likes big lines.

Texan_Bill
03-24-2011, 11:01 PM
Fired "Mad 30 yardline" just added to the unemployment numbers!!!! FML!! :facepalm:

TheMatrix31
03-25-2011, 04:49 AM
Doesn't matter to us, we had no return game anyway. Might help more than anything.

Again I say, our field position woes were a bigger problem for our offense (and consequently, the defense) than most people shed light on.

Señor Stan
03-25-2011, 06:25 AM
Mad "30 yard line on a mobile" just called into 1560 and he was pissed!!


Someone then suggested that he go visit Charlie Sheen since he likes big lines.

Mad 30 yard line on a mobile (http://sportingnewsradio.com/shows/mad-30-yard-line-58135/)

Blake
03-25-2011, 07:49 AM
I dont think this is really a big deal. There were 23 kickoff return touchdowns last season. What is that, like 1.3 a week? The Texans had 1 all season.

There will still be guys bashing into eachother. But just not as much.

CloakNNNdagger
03-25-2011, 04:48 PM
Returners just became a lot less valuable. Touchbacks will become very prevalent, making special teams fairly boring.

Well, teams now will probably not need to find a specialty KR on top of a PR. For some teams it will essentially allow for a so-called extra spot for a position player. Could even make Slaton a bit less chancey to keep as a RB/receiver.........or more appealing trade material.