Kickoffs at 35-yard line could be examined after this season
The new kickoff rule isn’t going anywhere this season, not even this preseason even after the Chicago Bears tried kicking off from the 30-yard line.
But that doesn’t mean it’s around for the long haul. NFL kickoffs will happen from the 35-yard line this season but as Peter King notes in his weekly Monday morning column at SI.com, that doesn’t mean it couldn’t be moved back to the 30 in 2012.
The rule change – which really came out of nowhere this offseason – has been pretty roundly criticized. It was made with an effort to reduce the number of concussions and that happen in the full-speed collisions on kickoffs. That’s fine. What about the kickoffs that aren’t touchbacks?
King talked to Rich McKay, who heads up the competition committee that pushed the rule change through, and McKay said there’s never been a rule change made that was then reversed before the season began.
“After the season,'' McKay said, "we'll see how it's affected the game and the injury numbers.''
What the rule is guaranteed to do is take some excitement out of the game and reduce the offense. That’s a fact. Whether or not it makes a tangible difference when it comes to player safety, we’ll see. Some fear the kickoff will eventually be legislated out of the game.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune