The New Kickoff Rule And How It Affects The Detroit Lions

Today, the NFL’s Competition Committee passed a new rule which moves kickoffs upward 5 yards to the 35-yard line and limits the kickoff team’s players to 5 yards for their running starts.  The goal of the new change is to prevent injuries on the play.   The committee decided not to remove the two-man wedge, which is debated as the most dangerous part of the play.  At one point, they even considered taking out the play completely.

The kickoff, which is such an exciting play, will be so different.  The number of returns will decrease greatly while the touchbacks will increase.  In 1993, the ball was kicked from the 35-yard line and there were only 4 returns for touchdown the whole year.  For some teams, they rely on this play to help them win each week. Josh Cribbs and Devin Hester, who are the best returners in the league, have spoken out about the issue.

Josh Cribbs:

NFL rule changes are B.S. U not making the game any safer. U messing a great a sport. Trynna (trying to) hide behind safety just to add 2 games.

Devin Hester:

I see the NFL is trying to take the kickoff game out. They already punt out of bounds. What’s next?

The Lions averaged 24.9 yards per kickoff return last year, the fourth best average in the NFL.  Stefan Logan is defintely one of the better returners in the league.  He is blazing fast and scored on a 105-yard return for a touchdown last year.  Not giving Logan as many chances to return the ball hurts the Lions.  It may help the Lions chose a kicker because they probably don’t have enough room for two.  The dependable and aging Jason Hanson suffered an injury last year that sidelined him for the last eight weeks.  Jason Hanson came in and did a great job of replacing him, going 13 for 16 on field goals.  The five yards should now allow Hanson to make the endzone pretty easily now.

I don’t think the new ruling was needed or will have an effect on player safety.  The play won’t slow down, the coverage team will still be able to get up to full speed.  It takes out the “electricity” of the play and won’t have much of an impact on the game now.  The NFL wants to reduce injury but they decided to keep the two-man wedge.  The only positive I see is that I can now leave the room after a score and not worry about missing a big play on the kickoff.

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Topics: Competition Commitee, Dave Rayner, Jason Hanson, Kickoff Change, NFL, Stefan Logan

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